Karachi: The President & CEO of National Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Saeed Ahmad,
reaffirmed the commitment of NBP to grow and develop Housing Sector Financing in Pakistan. He was speaking at the signing ceremony of the Shareholders’ Agreement of “Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company” (PMRC), at a local hotel in Karachi, on Saturday, 14th April.
In his speech, Mr. Ahmad said that the lack of proper housing for low income citizens
may lead to serious social, economic and law & order issues. Of a shortage of 10 million housing units in the country, 80-90% is estimated to be for lower income groups, and affordable housing was therefore a critical need.
He recalled an incident when he was on a road journey in the interior of the country, when he stopped by the side of the road and spoke to a family who were living in shanties (“katchi abadi”). In the conversation, the head of the family said that he worked on housing construction sites but could not afford to build a house for his family. The irony of this, Mr. Ahmad stated, had left a deep impression on him and it was his heartfelt desire to see real progress in delivering housing to the poor.
He said that solutions to the housing shortfall require out-of-the-box thinking and the authorities need to give serious thought to creating the kind of institutional infrastructure that would help address the problem. The launch of the PMRC is, he added, a vital step in this direction, but of course further building blocks need to be put in place, including measures to bring the construction industry into the formal sector and to eliminate legal and regulatory obstacles to the provision of low cost housing. This will reduce the need for the Governments (Federal as well as Provincial) to provide subsidies from their limited resources.
He complimented the efforts of the Board of Directors of PMRC under the chairmanship of Mr. Rehmat Hasnie and the Management team, Mr. N. Kokularupen, CEO of PMRC, and Dr. Muhammad Saleem (COO) and Mr. Zulfiqar Alam (CFO and Company Secretary). He said that from inception, his guiding philosophy was to have “the right person for the right job”. This has resulted in the induction of a highly experienced and professional management team and this augurs well for the future success of the company.
The event was presided over by the Chief Guest, Mr. Jameel Ahmed, Deputy Governor, SBP. Mr. Risha Mohyeddin, Group Chief of NBP, signed the Shareholders Agreement on behalf of NBP. Ms. Naheed Sultana, Group Chief, Commercial & Retail Banking Group, which includes responsibility for housing finance, also attended the event.
NBP is one of the principal shareholders of PMRC, which numbers several other banks as its shareholders and the World Bank has committed facilities of US$140 million for the PMRC.
Mr. Samar Hasnain, Executive Director of the SBP, also spoke at the occasion and recalled that the idea was seeded at the SBP over 10 years ago, and that it was heartening to see this idea converted into reality.
Mr. Jameel Ahmed, Deputy Governor, acknowledged the pivotal role of Mr. Saeed Ahmad while he was Deputy Governor of SBP in developing the concept of PMRC. Mr. Jameel Ahmed also complimented Mr. Samar Hasnain and his team for their hard work and commitment to the housing sector and for the landmark achievement of successful launch of PMRC.
Replying to a query raised by media personnel, Mr. Saeed Ahmad referred to the MoU signed in the last week between NBP and PHA-KPK for financing of 200,000 housing units; he reiterated that NBP is the “Nation’s Bank”, and that the Bank would be very interested in similar projects in Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan. He said that PMRC would play a key role in these projects.
During Mr. Ahmad’s tenure as Deputy Governor of SBP, several other initiatives were also successfully implemented such as three Centres of Excellence for Islamic Finance, Warehouse Receipts, Asaan Accounts and Asaan Mobile Accounts among others.