Ensuring long-term loans with low-interest rates for lower and lower-middle income people, good governance in development works, and civic facilities in rural areas are essential to provide homes for all in the country, said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.
The government will have to take initiatives on a massive scale to ensure housing facilities for the poor, said urban planning expert Prof Nazrul Islam at the roundtable held at the Bangla daily Prothom Alo's office in Dhaka.
Prothom Alo and Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) jointly organised the discussion on “Problems in real estate sector and their solutions.”
An NGO has already constructed 40 flats on five katha land for slum-dwellers in Dhaka and 100 more such flats are under construction; the government can also take initiatives to create affordable housing for the poor, said Nazrul.
Decentralisation is also crucial to reduce pressure on Dhaka, for which the government has to create efficiently-planned cities and ensure civic facilities in rural areas, he added.
Architect Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon said National Housing Authority (NHA) and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) will have to change their mindset of “doing business” and fulfil their regulating duties properly.
Joint secretary of housing and public works Hasanuzzaman Kamal said they have constructed 533 flats and 10,000 more are under construction for slum dwellers.
Alamgir Shamsul Alamin, president of REHAB, said though in other countries owning a house or flat through long-term loan facilities is fairly convenient, in Bangladesh home loans are not widely promoted.
“If we want to really boost our economy, we have to seriously consider real estate development in other cities and not just Dhaka,” said Tanveerul Haque Probal, former president of REHAB.
Associate Editor of Prothom Alo Abdul Qayyum moderated the programme.