The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $435 million in funding for three projects in Pakistan: Pakistan Housing Finance, Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement, and Punjab Affordable Housing Program.
These projects will increase low-income people’ access to housing finance, strengthen land tenure rights, and allow affordable housing building in Punjab’s cities.
“In Pakistan, which has over 200 million people and is the most urbanised country in South Asia, affordable and accessible housing is in high demand,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “By leveraging the private sector and facilitating access to mortgage choices for people who cannot currently obtain finance to purchase a home, these programmes will assist to addressing housing requirements, particularly for low-income households.” They will also strengthen property rights and increase the supply of cheap, climate-resilient home developments,” he added.
The $85 million in extra funding for the Pakistan Housing Finance project will aim to improve homeownership among low-income households, particularly women and informal workers, by increasing access to affordable mortgages. The additional funds will be used to expand the credit risk-sharing facility, which was introduced in 2018 to give banks with partial credit guarantees in order to encourage them to lend to borrowers who have previously been denied commercial financing. Up to 70,000 first-time homeowners in the country will benefit from this, as long as they qualify for the government’s interest rate discount scheme, Mera Pakistan, Mera Ghar (My Pakistan, My Home).
The $150 million Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement project would improve land administration and make it easier for housing authorities in Punjab to find suitable regions and public lands for affordable housing constructions. By producing a computerised, province-wide inventory of lands and documents, the initiative will assist the provincial government in modernising its land registry.
This would assist safeguard land tenure and streamline land-related permit procedures, which are necessary for private sector investment, housing finance, and tax revenue collection. In addition, the project will create geospatial data and risk information to help with urban planning and catastrophe risk management techniques for natural disasters like floods. Land registration is predicted to help more than 38 million people, not just by improving tenure security but also by formalising land and property ownership.
The Punjab Cheap Homes Program, worth $200 million, will enhance the supply of affordable housing in the province, particularly for low-income families. The programme will improve government procedures to create an enabling environment for mixed-income housing developments to attract private investment.
It would also assist the government in better targeting the Naya Pakistan Housing Program’s subsidies for low-income families. The initiative also encourages housing constructions to incorporate green building principles, climate resilience, accessibility, safety, and women’s mobility. Over the next five years, the initiative will help about 77,000 households, half of which will be low-income families residing in metropolitan areas.