Private sector has major role in affordable housing

The private sector in the Sultanate should support the government in providing housing units with necessary services at affordable prices to the needy.
This was stated by Shaikh Saif bin Mohammed al Shabibi, Minister of Housing, while speaking at an event celebrating Arab Housing Day with the motto ‘Private sector’s social responsibility in supporting affordable social housing’ on Wednesday.
On the occasion, the Ministry of Housing honoured a number of real estate developers and supporting entities for the social housing programmes provided by
the ministry.
The minister said that public-private partnership contributes to the provision of modern housing suitable for low income and social security groups.
“The celebration of this day gives an opportunity to review what the ministry has achieved in the sector and the extent of the private sector’s contribution in social responsibility,” the minister said.
“This contribution of the private sector has evolved from direct support to social housing programmes for low-income people to another form of partnership namely the construction of integrated housing units and complexes in an effort to provide suitable solutions for alternative housing as a commitment of the private sector to this social partnership,” pointed out the minister.

BENEFICIARIES
During the presentations, the officials of the ministry said that over 13,000 Omani families have benefited from the ministry’s housing programme. Since 1975 until now the Ministry of Housing has approved over RO 314 million for the housing programme.
The gross value of the financial approvals since the launch of the Social Housing Programme in 1991 have been estimated to RO 165 million and over 8,000 families have benefited from it. The minister urged the real estate development companies which provide ideas and experiences to find new alternatives for adequate housing that allows all society segments to own a housing unit at affordable prices, maintaining high quality and modern urban designs that include all necessary services and entertainment required in the modern lifestyle.
In her presentation, the Director-General of Real Estate Development at the Ministry of Housing, Siham Ahmed al Harthiya said, that housing is one of the basic services just like education and health.
“The government, represented by the Ministry of Housing has developed many programmes to ensure adequate and suitable housing for social security and low-income cases. This included building houses or granting interest- free loans for eligible citizens. All citizens both male and female have the right to a residential plot, but the pace of plot distribution has exceeded that of the provision of services and thus it was necessary to introduce new alternatives to provide housing for various segments of the society,” said Al Harthiya.
To support Public Private Partnership, the ministry over the last four years has modernised the existing legislation, including the Law of Calculation of Guarantee for Real Estate Development Projects.
“It preserves the right of buyers in real estate development projects, facilitates real estate developer’s access to the necessary licenses to start construction and motivate investors in this sector by establishing a centre for real estate developers’ services to finalise all licenses from all relevant authorities,” she said.
According to the director-general, it also regulates the real estate market and real estate brokerage through an automated programme through which sales and purchases transactions take place to ensure the rights of the seller and the buyer and prevent fraud.
“Formation of Association of Owners has ensured continuity and sustainability of maintenance and attention to residential complexes by their owners,” pointed out Al Harthiya.
The celebration and the award ceremony was attended by the International Federation of Arab Real Estate Agents, the World President of the International Real Estate Federation, and a number of real estate representatives on Wednesday at Fraser Suites.