March 11, 2022: World Bank Governing Council today approved $435 million in funding for three projects in Pakistan; the Pakistan Housing Finance project, the Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement project and the Punjab Affordable Housing Program, a press release said today.
These projects will increase access to housing finance, especially for low-income households, improve land tenure and facilitate affordable housing construction in urban Punjab.
Affordable and accessible housing is in high demand in Pakistan, which is home to more than 200 million people and is South Asia’s most urbanized country,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “These projects will contribute to housing needs, especially for low-income households, by leveraging the private sector and facilitating access to mortgage options for those who currently do not have access to finance to buy a home. . They also strengthen property rights and increase the supply of climate-resilient, affordable housing projects.”
The additional $85 million funding for the Pakistan Housing Finance project will help increase access to affordable mortgages to increase home ownership among low-income households, including women and informal workers. The additional funding will scale up the credit risk sharing facility launched in 2018 to provide partial credit guarantees to banks, incentivising them to lend to borrowers traditionally excluded from commercial financing. This will benefit up to 70,000 new home buyers in the country who are eligible for the government’s interest rate subsidy program – Mera Pakistan, Mera Ghar (My Pakistan, My Home).
The $150 million Punjab Urban Land Systems Enhancement project will strengthen the land administration and facilitate the efforts of the housing authorities to identify suitable areas and public lands for affordable housing projects in Punjab province. The project supports the provincial government in upgrading its land registry by creating a digital, province-wide inventory of land and deeds. This will help secure land tenure and streamline land-related permitting procedures – essential for private sector investment, housing financing and tax collection. The project will also generate geospatial data and risk intelligence to inform urban planning strategies and disaster risk management for natural hazards such as flooding. More than 38 million people are expected to benefit from land registration, which will not only improve property security but also formalize land and property ownership.
The $200 million Punjab Affordable Housing Program will increase the availability of affordable housing, especially for low-income households in the province. The program will improve government systems to create an enabling environment that attracts private financing for mixed-income housing projects. It will also help the government better target Naya Pakistan Housing Program grants to low-income households. The program also promotes the integration of green building, climate resilience, accessibility, safety and mobility principles for women in housing projects. The program will benefit approximately 77,000 households over the next five years, half of which are low-income families living in urban areas.
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