By AMANULLAH BASHAR
July 09 - 15, 2001
Engr. Zaheer Qadri, Managing Director of Usman &
Company enjoys a leading position in the field of housing and
construction industry. Currently, Chairman, Southern Region (SR) of the
Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) Zaheer has earned a
respectable place for himself in the housing sector by giving quality
housing projects to the city of Karachi. Some of the projects he
completed in Karachi include Usman Plaza, R.Q.M Complex, Ayesha
Apartment, Sehar Center, Madiha Heights, Star Blessing, Supreme Avenue,
Supreme Heights and Supreme Castle etc.
Graduated from NED University, Karachi he carries the
degree of MASCE from USA to his professional credit. Before establishing
his company i.e. Usman & Co, Zaheer served as the project manager in
various leading construction companies of the Middle East. Besides his
own company he is associated with other companies as director or the
managing partner with Sehar Associates, Al-freed Associates, Star
Blessing Associates and PICC. Currently, he is devoting his time and
efforts for the cause of housing industry in Pakistan and for
streamlining ABAD as the Chairman (SR) to enable it to play a positive
role for economic growth of the country.
PAGE: You have been actively engaged with the housing
construction industry, which was known, as the most active area for
generating business activities in Pakistan. This industry has to a
standstill for quite sometimes how do you see the future of this sector
Zaheer Qadri: The government has recently announced a
new housing policy. We are pleased to inform you that most of the
recommendations made by ABAD have been incorporated in the newly
announced housing policy.
ABAD hopes that the new policy will produce some
positive results and business activities may come out of the stagnation
in near future.
PAGE: Would you like to pinpoint some of the
important steps taken by the government in that policy for revival of
the construction industry?
Zaheer: You know the disbursement of housing loans
have been stopped by the House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC) for
more than one year causing a serious liquidity crunch in this sector.
Now the policy has assured for resumption of loan disbursement under
some Islamic mode of financing. Due to non-disbursement of loans by HBFC,
construction at a large number of housing projects was held. It is hoped
that work on these held up projects would start soon. The investment
climate in this sector was totally stopped as a result of taxation
policy and housing survey launched by the present government, which
scared away the investors. Even the individuals were so panicky that
they were afraid of the documentation of the housing units they had
booked sometimes back due to survey of taxation. The new housing policy
has exempted smaller housing units and apartments upto 150sq. Yards and
1000sq, ft. respectively. This corrective measure is likely to help
pushing the business activity in housing sector.
PAGE: There was a hue and cry over punitive measures
taken by Karachi Building Control Authority and Karachi Development
Authority against the cases of violation of building rules in over 200
buildings and apartment here the construction work is still held up. How
the new policy deals with these cases?
Zaheer: On recommendations of ABAD, the government
has agreed in principle to regularize these held up buildings by making
some adjustments. Zaheer said that exactly speaking total number of such
buildings is 262 where the work would soon start after regularization
and adjustments required.
PAGE: There were reports that the government has
asked the commercial banks to make provision for housing advances, what
would be the rate of mark up of financial charges by the commercial
Zaheer: The minister for housing was in agreement with ABAD that
commercial banks other than HBFC should also extend loan facilities for
housing industry at the affordable charges. One representative from the
State Bank of Pakistan also present in the meeting was asked to look
into the possibilities that the commercial banks may also participate in
the housing financing business. Probably 8-11 per cent of financial
charges will be fine and affordable by the people in general. ABAD has
suggested that the commercial banks should make provision for extending
loans to the housing sector on this basis. He said that in fact the
importance of housing sector has now been fully realized by the
government in view of its supplementary nature to more than 70 allied
industries. Since it's a job oriented business, the housing and
construction sectors can help out in generating job opportunities both
of skill and unskilled work force at a massive scale, he remarked. He
appreciated the timely step of the government for bringing down the duty
on machinery related to cement industry. The conversion of cement
industry from oil to coal will soon cut down the cement prices
drastically in Pakistan, he observed.