ISLAMABAD: A proposition was made to the government for enhancing the house rent allowance for government employees up to 65% during the upcoming federal budget for 2015-16.

It was made by Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani on Thursday while speaking at a two-day international conference organised by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on “Affordable housing and mortgage finance”.

The conference was organised with an aim to improve housing finance in the country and share international best practices in the provision of low-cost housing facilities.

Reaffirming the government’s commitment to providing housing facilities for lower and middle-income groups, the minister said they would provide housing facilities for 500,000 under-privileged people by 2018.

“All arrangements have been finalised for launching the Prime Minister’s Apna Ghar Scheme for families of the lower income group across the country,” he said, adding land for the scheme had been acquired. He said there was a huge gap between housing demand and supply whereas existing housing units were overburdened.

Durrani said increased urbanisation due to lack of job opportunities and facilities of health and education in rural areas was also increasing the housing demand in cities.

“When I took charge of this ministry, there were only 30,000 kanals of land owned by it and now it has reached 60,000 kanals and we will construct houses on that land for lower income families to tackle the housing demand,” he added. The minister said the recently signed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor programme would generate business activities and would be beneficial to rural areas of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Durrani added the ministry also sought the PM’s permission for demolishing old structures in order to construct multi-storey buildings to facilitate lower income government employees.

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