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Engr. Zaheer Qadri



Science & Technology

Politics & Policy

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 in Pakistan.

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 banks?

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.