KARACHI - The Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) has announced to create a seed fund of Rs 1 billion for construction of affordable as well as low cost housing throughout Pakistan to overcome shortage of housing in the country and provide quality houses to fellow countrymen.

This was announced by ABAD chairman Arif Jeewa during the website launching for Affordable Housing Advisory Centre for Affordable Settlements and Housing at ABAD House here on Saturday.

This website has been developed by Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, former Managing Director HBFCL, and secretary general Asia Pacific Union for Housing Finance in collaboration of ABAD. Vice chairman ABAD Sohail Warind, chairman Southern Region Altaf Tai and large number of bankers and ABAD members also were present on this occasion.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Arif Jeewa said that ABAD has vision that every Pakistani has his/her own house and that is the reason why ABAD has announced Affordable Housing schemes in Islamabad and Karachi and later on this scheme will be expanded in other cities of the country.

He said that ABAD has decided to build low cost 120 yards house costing Rs. 1.9 million. He said that not a single political party has announced to provide affordable houses for low income group of people. He said that governments around the world are providing low cost houses on lowest rate of interest but it is lamenting that consecutive governments in Pakistan are behaving in opposite direction in this regard.

He said that ABAD has asked government to provide electricity, water and gas on low rates but none has come forward to accept this demand.

Addressing the occasion, Arif Habib, chairman of Arif Habib Group and a senior member of ABAD, said that it is impossible for poor Pakistani to build their own houses. He told that low cost housing is much needed in Pakistan. He also announced to provide equity for the low cost housing fund and said that banks will come forward to provide funds for ABAD low cost housing schemes as the affordable housing scheme of ABAD will be attractive for banks. Arif Habib said that billions rupees investment will come to Pakistan if the government focuses on the construction sector. He also advised builders and developers to take advantage of Tax Amnesty Scheme announced by the government.

Zaigham Rizvi said that the no work has been undertaken on the government level. He said that population in Pakistan has reached almost 24 crores and the Karachi has become the sixth largest city of the world in terms of population. Pakistan is facing shortage of 10 million houses but the government is doing nothing to overcome this shortage, he said adding that affordable housing scheme of ABAD is a welfare-oriented scheme. He also advised ABAD to adopt alternative energy solution for such schemes.

He said that it is lamenting that India has 85 house financing institutions but Pakistan has only one House Building Finance Company, which is not capable to provide necessary funds for the housing industry