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IFC Signs Agreement with the House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan


In Islamabad:                                
Syed Farhan Fasihuddin                        

Phone: +92 301 8293260                

Email:
sfasihuddin@ifc.org        


Islamabad, June 15, 2006— The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement to provide technical assistance to the House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan. The agreement was sealed at the Ministry of Finance in Islamabad in the presence of Dr. Salman Shah, Advisor to the Prime Minister.

IFC’s technical assistance facility, the Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and North Africa (PEP-MENA), will develop a detailed business plan for the House Building Finance Corporation and assist in building its institutional capacity. IFC’s aim is to enable the corporation to operate in a sustainable manner and to grow in an increasingly competitive housing finance market.


Michael Essex, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, commented, “IFC’s engagement with the House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan is a strategic first step toward developing the housing finance market in Pakistan. We will continue to work with the private sector and the relevant authorities in Pakistan to enhance the availability and affordability of housing finance.”


The House Building Finance Corporation’s management team, with the support of the government of Pakistan, is currently restructuring and recapitalizing to improve its balance sheet and realize its mission. In the last two years, its management team has taken on a number of reform programs. It launched an aggressive recovery plan that has yielded more than $50 million in recoveries in 2005. The management team has also agreed to finance and develop a low-cost housing scheme in the port city of Gawadar. IFC’s technical assistance program will facilitate these reform efforts.


“To ensure low-cost housing, the House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan has to expand its outreach to smaller cities and towns. Under the Expansion of Outreach Program, we have increased our presence in the country from 55 to 80 cities,” said Zaigham M. Rizvi, Managing Director of the House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan.


Syed Farhan Fasihuddin, IFC’s Program Manager for Housing Finance in the region, added, “The House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan is the only institution providing housing finance to the low and lower-middle income population in Pakistan. It is critical that the corporation gets the support it needs to ensure long-term operational sustainability”.


The House Building Finance Corporation of Pakistan is a state-owned housing finance entity operating in Pakistan since 1952. It provides financing for the construction, restoration, and purchase of houses to the low to middle income market segment.  Its mission is to be a socially responsible and commercially sustainable housing finance institution. For more information, visit
www.hbfc.com.pk

PEP-MENA is IFC’s technical assistance facility that supports private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa. It focuses on improving the business enabling and regulatory environment; strengthening the financial sector; promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises and their support services, such as business organizations and consulting firms; helping restructure and privatize state-owned enterprises; and developing viable private sector and public-private partnership projects, especially in infrastructure. Promoting the development of affordable housing finance is a priority for PEP-MENA. For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.


The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.