ISLAMABAD-Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Reza Baqir on Sunday said that under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the banks have so far received applications worth of over Rs40 billion for construction of low cost housing. Speaking at National Bank of Pakistan’s telethon on low cost housing loan, the governor said since the start of this process, the banks had increased their loans for construction and housing sector by over Rs42 billion. Reza Baqir said that it was vision of the Prime Minster to take Pakistan forward in housing and construction sectors, particularly for the objective to facilitate common man by provision of easy loans through banks so that the dream of building one’s own house may be materialized. He said that many institutions had to work and play their role to take forward the construction and housing sector. However, as far as banks are concerned, they would facilitate developers, builders, and even common people with soft loans in building their houses. He was of the view that this sector was not seen comprehensively in the past, that was why less than one per cent of the country’s economy consist of banking and housing finance. In other countries, he said, banks provided more loans for housing and construction compared to Pakistan. In China, he added, the housing and construction finance played an important role in progress of that country. He said that the SBP was playing role to develop partnership with banks to overcome the difficulties that people were facing in the past in getting loans.

He said that banks were now providing loans and were even given target to provide loans to people. Earlier, he said the borrower had to pay repayment monthly installment of Rs 11,000 but now the monthly installment would only be Rs 6600 on the same loan. Responding to question, he said if anybody wants to take loans and all banks would demand for standard forms and required documents. He said that SBP had 16 offices across the country where help desk had been established at every bank. If anybody is not facilitated, he or she could register complaints against the concerned banks that would be addressed accordingly. Once loans is approved and disbursed, it would be disbursed in a banks account. For informal employees, special provisions have been given for them to facilitate them, he added. He said loans could also be taken for purchase of land. Executive Director SBP Syed Sammar Hasnain said that earlier banks would provide loans based on income but now it has been reversed as anybody can take loans up to Rs2 million.

 He said the people could use the loans for expansion of their houses also.

President National Bank Arif Usmani said that the NBP always plays role in such welfare schemes. People can approach NBP at 1500 branches across the country.