Record Housing Loans Disbursement to Groundwater Scarcity; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

27 March 2022

Record Housing Loan Disbursement in February

According to State Bank of Pakistan the disbursement of loans for low-cost housing witnessed the highest increase of Rs 9.3 billion in February this year. The data has recorded total disbursements under the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar at Rs 53.074 billion at the end of February 2022. The government launched the MPMG scheme in October 2020 and announced a number of incentives along with subsidized mark-up rates. The scheme aims to boost the housing sector in Pakistan so that economic activities could be accelerated in the country, according to Infocus Weekly Briefs.

The data also showed that the financing for Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar accelerated during Dec-Feb Financial year 2022. The total disbursement till end of Nov 2021 was Rs 28.744 bi8llion, while it reached Rs 53.074 billion at the end of Feb 2022. Despite the increase in the disbursements, the scheme has yet not reached up to the expectations of the government and the State Bank.

Surface Water Availability gets Scarcer

Climate Change and Rising Food Insecurity in Pakistan

The United Nations World Water Development Report warns the surface water availability is going to be limited. The report has revealed that while water use is projected to grow by roughly 1% per year over the next 30 years, overall dependence on groundwater is expected to rise as surface water availability becomes increasingly limited due to climate change.

Released by UNESCO, on the occasion of World Water Day, the report points out the low use of water is not due to a lack of renewable groundwater, but rather by a lack of investments in infrastructure, institutions, trained professionals and knowledge of the resource. The report says groundwater accounts for 99% of all liquid freshwater on Earth. However, this natural resource is often poorly understood and consequently undervalued, mismanaged and even abused.

Billion Tree Tsunami’ Survival rate in Peshawar’ Outskirts is Low

The success rate of plantation on the outskirts of Peshawar under the Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation project is just 58% apparently due to water shortage, the forestry department informed the provincial assembly this week. The department revealed during question hour that more than 1.4 million indigenous species of plants were grown over 1,375 hectares of land in Azakhel Turki area near Peshawar under phases II and III of the multi-billion rupees Billion Tree Tsunami project.

The department said the plants were irrigated in Azakhel area by water bowsers, workers, and rainwater harvesting method, as the component of sapling irrigation by bowsers was not included in PC-I of the afforestation project in 2020. Despite the survival rate of saplings is 58%

Low-Cost Housing Festival

The Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Mela held in Faisalabad this week, which was a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to provide a one-stop solution for creating awareness about the affordable housing financing scheme under one roof.  State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Dr Reza Baqir acknowledged banks` efforts in making Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar a success story as banks so far have approved Rs 157 billion under MPMG and disbursed Rs 56 billion.

Mortgage financing has largely been ignored by banks for one or the other reason. Therefore, Dr Baqir urged the business community of Faisalabad, including members of the chamber of commerce and business groups, to encourage their employees, who do not own a house, to avail financing under this scheme.

Investment in Cement Sector’

The Punjab government had issued 22 NOCs for setting up cement factories. Punjab Minister for Industry and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal while presiding over a meeting held at the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade this week has said the completion of 16 under-construction cement factories in the province will generate an overall investment of Rs 600 billion and thousands of jobs.

The 16 factories included four in Mianwali district, one in Pind Dadan Khan, two each in Taxila and Dera Ghazi Khan and seven in other parts of the province. The construction of three of the 16 factories is at an advanced stage, so they are likely to start production by the end of this year.

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