Affordable housing project in Barka begins

MUSCAT, Oct 22 – The foundation stone for the Barka integrated residential project was laid on Monday. This is the first-ever project being developed in cooperation with the Supreme Council of Planning and the Ministry of Housing to provide affordable houses to Omani nationals. Foundation stone for the project was laid by Shaikh Saif bin Mohammed al Shabibi, Minister of Housing. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the project, an alternative to allocation of government land, is presently providing houses to citizens residing in governorates of Muscat and South Al Batinah.
“These projects will help government reduce the number of people in the land distribution waitlist at the Ministry of Housing,” he said.
According to him, terms and conditions for obtaining flats or villas in the project are easy.
“Plans are afoot to extend projects of this kind to other governorates as well. Once locations are identified, they will be handed over to real estate developers to implement them,” said Al Shabibi.
To be built on a 350,000 square metre site at Saqsouq in the Wilayat of Barka, the project aims to offer 1,000 houses to eligible citizens.
The project will include mosques, health and commercial centres, public parks and a sports stadium.
Talal bin Sulaiman al Rahbi, the Deputy Secretary-General of Supreme Council of Planning, said the project is the outcome of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s desire to provide a dignified life to Omani citizens.
“Integrated housing projects are being planned as a result of the Royal directive to provide affordable and convenient housing units to citizens,” he said.
The project aims at enhancing the ownership of homes through the development of quality housing in integrated neighbourhoods at reasonable prices.
He said the land for the projects will be identified and allotted by the Ministry of Housing. Construction will be done in cooperation with other stakeholders.
“The project will help stimulate the Omani economy and reduce government spending by involving the private sector,” he said.
According to him, the project offers good housing in a sophisticated community environment and help citizens “own an asset instead of paying rent”.
“It also gives access to affordable real estate financing,” he said.

SAMUEL KUTTY