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Naya Pakistan Housing Programme

By: Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi
Chairman
Prime Minister’s Housing Task Force

Introduction

Is housing a number game? Seemingly, it is more than that, more so in under-developed and developing countries like Pakistan and other third world countries, where land availability is constant since beginning of universe, but population growth and its basic demands of habitat, food and cloth, all depending on these same constantly available land is increasing, not by days, but by moments.

So, the land size remains the same for a country, while the need for Food, Clothing and Shelter is always on the rise due to population growth. The world population in 1900 was around 4 billion, and today it stands at 7.67 billion. In 1970, the population of Pakistan was 58 million, and by 2019 it is above 200 million. By the turn of the century, it is projected at 375 million. The land area of Pakistan remains the same at 882,000 Sq KM, as it was in 1970 or earlier.

At population at 58 million in 1970, the density was 66 Persons/Sq KM, and today it is 227 Persons/Sq KM and by the turn of the century it will be 425 Persons/Sq KM. So, more people would be needing more and more houses, more and more food and more and more clothing from the same land by every passing day. Hence, the Government of Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has decided to tackle the long neglected, but drastically dire situation before it goes completely out of hand.

Presently, Pakistan’s housing shortage is considered to be around 11 to 12 million. So, the PM set the tough target for his government to meet the annual shortage by 1 million per year, 5 million (50 lakhs) in five years of its term. A tough target indeed, but a tough situation needs tougher handling; so, the Prime Minister has given a very hard, and seemingly unachievable, target to his team and his lieutenants to fight the situation with all the possible might and proclivity, to face the drastic situation and achieve the seemingly huge target. Prime Minister’s Task Force is totally geared up to face this challenge, and achieve the target. And the result, as the Prime Minister himself often says, is in the Hands of Almighty Allah!

Housing for all: A cherished mission, and the plan for achieving the big target

Following are the target areas for Prime Minister’s Task Forces to facilitate or make available of 10 lacs housing units per year (50 lacs over 5 years tenor):

Rural Areas: 4 lacs units/year
Peri-Urban areas: 2 lacs units/year
Urban Areas: 4 lacs units/year

It is very important to keep in mind that, in Pakistan it is for the first time that, the policy makers in capital city of Islamabad are proactively thinking, talking and planning for housing in rural areas of Pakistan, which is almost 68%, or 2/3 of Pakistan, which have always been conveniently neglected.

Prime Minister’s housing program is addressing rural and peri-urban housing issues on priority, alongside the main issue of housing shortage in urban metropolitans.

As far income segments are concerned, the PM Housing Program is having focus on lower-middle, low-income housing alongside housing issues of Bottom-of-Pyramid. Improvements of Slums and Katchi-Abadis also have very special attention in this Program, with a view to addressing age-old issue of occupants’ title/ownership issues and their eligibility for financial inclusions, which may at times require proof of any real estate ownership.

The target of 10 lac housing units a year has been planned to be achieved in following manner:

Low-Income Housing:

Rural Housing: 4 lacs/year (40% of target) – Moving towards decent housing/habitat
Cost Upper Limit: Up to Rs 5 lacs
Finance Limit: Up to Rs 4 lacs
Proposed Supply-Side Delivery Channels: Community based self-development
Proposed Finance-Side Delivery Channels: ZTBL, Commercial Banks, and eligible NGO’s
Housing in Peri-Urban areas: 2 lacs/year (20% of target)– Slums habilitation, Urban renewal and regeneration
Cost Upper Limit: Up to Rs 15 lakhs
Finance Limit: Up to Rs 12.5 lakhs
Proposed Supply-Side Delivery Channels: Private Sector Developers
Finance-Side Delivery Channels: Banks, SHFIs
Housing in Urban Areas: 4 lacs/year (40% of target) — Mixed Habitat development by Private Sector/Developers
Cost Upper Limit: Up to Rs 30 lakhs
Finance Limit: Up to LTV of 90:10
Proposed Supply-Side Delivery Channels: Private Sector Developers
Proposed Finance-Side Delivery Channels: Banks, SHFIs
Higher Middle-Income Housing: According to market demands
Cost Limit: Up to Rs 30-100 lakhs
Finance Limit: Up to LTV of 90:10
Proposed Supply-Side Delivery Channels: Private Sector Developers
Proposed Finance-Side Delivery Channels: Banks, SHFIs

Potential for developing new cities and satellite towns

PM’s Task Force is working on war footing to bring all available lands of Federal Government on record, and under one umbrella, with gigantic efforts of bringing all provincial governments on the set for utilizing their governments’ available lands for this august purpose. A brief, but inconclusive, detail of presently available lands with various bodies of Federal Government is as follows:

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has a total of 110,000 acres of land in different cities which is effectively owned by Federal Govt and could be made available for developing new towns, Industrial Estates and Commercial areas for economic activates. Some of these are:
Nankana Sahib 16,000 acres: A large size city could be developed there by inviting an international developer.
Shiekhupura 4,000 acres, Sahiwal 9,600, Hyderabad 12,000 acres, Okara 12,000 acres, Layyah 5,800 acres.
Another 8-10 cities with land parcels of 1,000 to 4,000 acres.
Pakistan Railways has more than 100,000 acres.

Provincial Governments also have huge parcels of land, which could be transformed into decent habitat, before these are being grabbed by slums creators and land grabbing mafia.

Prime Minister’s programme for youth empowerment through rural housing, and steps initiated to launch rural housing program

As per PM’s vision, a very effective and tested programme has been designed by Dr. Fariha Tariq, Head HRC-UMT, Lahore, for creating small construction companies of unemployed university graduates in construction related fields like civil engineering, architecture, town planning etc. with a capital base of Rs 4-5 million per company in Punjab province. They would construct small Model Village Houses as per planning. A model village will have average of fifty houses, alongside community area, small shopping area clinics etc. These construction companies would utilize local unskilled manpower, who could be trained by the team of professionals, where required.

For further testing of more viabilities of this programme, three such companies will be established in the first stage to develop one model village each.

After the Pilot Phase, the project will be expanded to Commercial Scale by expanding its outreach to the entire province with involvement of more Universities and Government agencies like National Rural Support Programme (NRSP).

Employment potential per model village

The employment potential of such a project per model village is as follows:
Professional: 5
Skilled Manpower: 50
Unskilled: 250
Delivery: Two Model Villages/team/year
Target 5,000 model villages/year
Overall: 7-8 lac units of houses (expected)

Urbanization, urban planning and urban renewal and urban regeneration

Innovative approaches are being chalked out for urban planning to address issues of rapid urbanization, reduce urban housing backlogs and address cost/income affordability. Regulations on Inner city densification would be strictly made and followed after slums rehabilitations are enforced. Unfortunately, inner cities are unabatedly expanding in circles around circles resulting in acute densification of populations here. Issues of rezoning and development of “Serviced Land” etc. are also needed to be addressed; and are being addressed on emergency basis.
As an alternative option to act against slums prevalence, expansion, and inefficient use of land, projects for resettlements and rehabilitations have been envisaged.

Plans are also afoot to develop new neighbourhood/satellite towns equipped with physical, social infrastructure, transport etc., keeping in view the requirements of a smart city/village.

At this end, platforms have already been put to work for on-going coordination and wisdom sharing between urban planners, housing ministry, developers and academia.

The programmes for housing agenda have two main focus on slums rehabilitation and urban renewal, and these are:
Government housing built a few decades ago, have now turned into dilapidated and congested habitat, and mostly occupied by illegal owners. These are to be restored to the original glory of decent residences;
Slums have mostly developed on government-controlled lands and very few, if any, would be on private lands, which are needed to be handled by the Government according to its plans.

In this regard, the Government is benefitting from best practice models in the region and around the globe, which are, Karachi’s own Orangi Pilot Project, the largely success story of world’s arguably largest Dhravi Slum of Mumbai in India, and practices in Korea.

For this purpose, the business models will be used, driven by market-based options, with least use of forced eviction. Pilot Projects under consideration are, in Karachi: Pakistan Housing Quarters, in Islamabad: G-Sector and all other Illegal slums in the Islamabad and Karachi. It may be a matter of interest that, more than 40% of Karachi’s total population lives in more than 1,700 slums (Katchi Abadis) of the city.

Financial models for creating enabling environments for housing for habitat deprived people

Various models of housing finance, enabling the people to have their own houses according to their affordability, are being actively worked out. The central bank, with the help of all stake holders are continuously working on this.

PM has already announced Rs 5 bn for Qarde Hasana Loans through NGOs like Akhuwat Foundation. Target market for such loans is the very poor segment of the population living in low-income habitat. Under this model under PM Housing Program, Akhuwat has already identified about 15,000 clients for housing microfinance, and has started financing to such deserving people.

The Finance Minister has also directed Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to manage disbursement of these loans and follow-up/monitor them. BISP is expected to soon initiate the process of selection and disbursements through Akhuwat Foundation, NRSP and other eligible NGOs.

Sponsor a Shelter Foundation on Islamic principle of “muakhat”

A hard thought about programme is about to be launched with the efforts of the Housing Task Force, and that is “Sponsor a Shelter Foundation”. For this, a web-based platform would be developed to provide financial assistance to needy and poor segments to empowerment them for buying a house, which are otherwise beyond their means.

The foundation, when launched, would be managed by Housing Authority. The proposed financial supports would come from wealthy people, willing to assist shelterless poor to give shelter and earn “sawab”, in the following forms:
Upfront Cost Support: A donor may assist a poor by meeting a part of the upfront cost, so that the balance amount through a bank loan may come within his repayment capacity.
Support in monthly loan installments: A donor may come forward and pledge a part of the regular housing installment for a certain period, such that the remaining loan installments get within the repayment eligibility of the client.

The poor seeking financial assistance will place their requests on the website through the office of the Housing Authority. For low-income housing, the amounts of donations may be in the range of Rs 5-10-15 lacs per client. A donor may split his donation to more than one low-income client for housing, or many may contribute in one case, as could be selected by the Authority.

Promising role of academia in research and advisory on construction materials, construction technologies

For the first time, under PM’s Housing Programme, the academia of Pakistan would be a prominent stake holder in development works, particularly in construction activities, which need the productive contributions from colleges, universities and academic research centers to find out most cost-effective and technology driven solutions for mass scale production of houses.

In Pakistan there is a big gap between academia and the field practitioners, while globally Academia is the primary source and driver for technological innovations. We have taken an initiative to bridge this gap by establishing housing research and advisory centers at different universities, and presently these are:

NEDUET Karachi: Center for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Development
UMT-Lahore: Housing Research Center
UET Lahore: Housing Research and Advisory Center
UET-Peshawar: It is already doing a great job in development of low-cost construction materials and disaster resilient housing

These universities have Departments of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Town Planning, staffed by PhDs, and a large number of students. The students are already being given Research Thesis on related areas on Naya Pakistan Housing Programme. Some of these topics are, Design of Rural Housing Program – UMT Lahore; Low-Cost Construction Material – NEDUET Karachi; Alternate design of low-cost housing and habitat – UET Lahore etc.

Other initiatives in hand

  • Land Bank Information Repository…Google Pin location on the map
  • Promising Interest of Foreign Developers/Investors for manufacturing Stage Production of Housing
  • Reception Desk and Facilitation Center at Beard of Investment (BoI) for Foreign Developers/Investors in housing
  • Backward integration with Industry for large scale production of construction materials, like Cement, Steel, Doors/Windows, Sanitary Wares, Cables etc
  • Standardization of sizes so as to facilitate large scale production and sale through recognized outlets: “Home Depot” Concept
  • Solar Power through retail options as well as Mini-Grids