How powerful is Pakistan? Simple, Pakistan’s power can be rightly identified by looking its superior irrigation system, strategic location, plenty of fertile Land, untapped tourism potential, four weathers, tradition of agriculture, rapid advancement in ease of doing business, human resource and defense position. Although presence of mentioned resources are quite enough for the prosperity of any country, but dwindling economy, poor governing system, wrong set of policies, low pace of public sector development, unbridled population Growth, rapid urbanization and housing backlogs are major reasons that Pakistan is not exactly where is need to be. A very critical assumption have led us to the point that there is potential housing shortage in Pakistan along with other issues.
Housing shortage – a major weakness of Pakistan
A shelter or a home is the fundamental right of every citizen. Where a home is prerequisite to survive, Pakistan facing a housing backlog of almost 10 million units that is growing at a rate of 0.6 million units every year. The urban housing shortage is estimated to 4 million housing units, while rural shortage is estimated 6 million housing units. Calculated speaking, till now, government provided only one percent housing units, comprising those individuals have monthly income Rs. 30,000 (68% population). On the other hand, almost 56 % housing units catered those individuals who have monthly income 100,000 or above (only 12 % population).
Provincial and Federal Governments of the past year made the initiatives for the provision low income houses for the citizens of Pakistan but nothing happened on the realistic grounds. PPP made a promise for the provision 15,650 house units but nothing appeared in the favor of Public. Repeatedly in the tenure of PML-N it has been promised that there will be the provision of 500 clusters in which each cluster includes of 1000 houses, but at the end of five years’ tenure in 2018 results was the same as the PPP. PML-N build PHA flats with the slogan “Hoses for Low Income Community” but currently in these flats high income people are living and almost everyone has private car ownership.
Current government has announced that 5 million housing units will be provided to low income segment of the country especially those who live in illegal habitat, squatter settlements, and slums (Katchi Abadis). However, the question is what steps have been taken to accomplish that daunting task? Honestly speaking, again, government didn’t give proper plan for the implementation of their agenda into reality.
Scenario – How much finance is required to resolve housing shortage in next 20 years?
Let’s assume a scenario to make it clarify for you how government can resolve housing issue in next twenty years. As discussed earlier, Government needs to construct 0.6 million new housing units every year to fill current housing demand. For previous backlog, 0.5 million housing units (10 million) are required every year till the end of next 20 years. So, overall, construction of 1.1 million housing units is required every year to clear up the backlog gradually until 2049. Even if one assumes that one housing unit requires Rs. 2 million (which is very difficult at the time when prices are touching the sky), construction of 1.1 million housing units requires almost two trillion rupees. The situation is disappointing as country is standing at the bottom in terms of Mortgage Debt to GDP Ratio and could not manage that ocean of money.
International Practices to resolve housing shortage:
Many developed countries have also been experiencing an extended and increasing housing shortage. United State of America which is politically stable is facing this problem since last few decades. For instance, by 2018, in California the shortage has been estimated at 3-4 million housing units. Similar case, housing shortage, has been seen in Danbury, USA. Now let’s come to the point; how America has been catering housing shortage? Answer, State provided the halls for the day labors who gather near the roadway in search of some daily base work. There are almost two dozen halls are existing for the purpose of accommodation to day labors nationwide, many are in southwest and California.
Similarly, Housing shortage has also been extended in India. In response, state frequently introduced set of policies to minimize housing shortage in India. State inaugurated ‘Homeless night shelter’. Starting in 2010, with merely two shelters, state has successfully expanded this idea up to 10 night shelters. Each night shelter has the capacity to accommodate 500 people including 200 children and women. The shelter have been provided in North East, Shahdara and New Delhi districts. Facilities such as mattresses, blankets, water, electricity, mosquito coils, and caretaker with security are also provided.
Pakistan’s government must learn some lesson from other countries, if they are truly committed to deliver, what they had promised.
Way forward to resolve housing shortage in Pakistan
Above discussion has made it clear that housing shortage is a vital issue and it must be controlled before it’s too late. To fix this issue strong realistic policies and implementable plans are required. Participatory planning approaches have to be ensured between the developers and government. The government and private developers should increase the supply of low income housing in the form of vertical growth development.
Hope so, in coming years housing issue will be resolved for and those people get roof who don’t have right now. Long Live Pakistan.