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Will Government Meet Target on Low-Cost Housing?

Under the previous government, the construction of low-cost apartments failed to reach its target. With the new government, we have to wait and see whether or not the specified numbers of low-cost apartments can be built in time.

The previous administration had claimed that they were going to complete the construction of one million apartments across Myanmar by the end of 2030, as the need for housing in Yangon – as well as other big cities – has been on the rise.

The current government has inherited that declaration now, and is aiming to achieve the targeted numbers of apartments.

Furthermore, the administration has also drawn up a five-year plan – for the next five fiscal years – to develop the housing sector and to build a total of 180,000 units, said Union Minister for Construction U Win Khaing at the Yadana Hninzi modern housing convention last year.

He also added that, in the fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, 8000 apartments would be prioritised. The apartments would be built and then sold in the Yangon Region.

To achieve the government’s target of building 180,000 units in five years, 36,000 units have to be constructed every year.

Experts pointed out that the meeting construction projects earmarked by the Ministry of Construction in the next two years and getting 36,000 units built per year pose an enormous challenge for the administration.

For the current fiscal year, the Ministry of Construction stated that a total of 2208 units of low-cost and affordable apartments were sold, and 1380 units of high-end apartments were sold in Yangon city, according to U Min Htein, director general of Department of Urban and Housing Development of the Ministry of Construction.

“Low-cost and affordable housing apartments sold in Yangon solely were 2208. All housing apartments have not been sold yet,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Construction, a total of 1380 apartments from Yadanar Hninzi housing, which is part of the Ayeyarwon Yadanar Housing project, had been sold.

Moreover, there are low-cost housing projects which have been under construction in Yangon and 8712 apartment units from these housing projects will be set to be completed during 2017, said an official from Ministry of Construction.

“Currently, low-cost housing apartments are also being constructed in Monywa, Magwe and Pathein townships, as well as Yangon. For Yangon, 8712 low cost housing apartments will be completed and sold during 2017,” he said.

During the last fiscal year, 800 affordable apartments were sold in Yangon, Mandalay, Pathein and other cities and 1420 apartments were being constructed. Plans are to sell all apartments during 2017, said the Ministry of Construction.

Low-cost housing for civil servants from developing states and regions who are in need of apartments were built during the last fiscal year, said an official from the Ministry of Construction.

“In the 2016-17 fiscal year, 84 civil servant housing apartments and 32 low-cost housing [rental] apartments –K37,200 per month to be rentable –were built in Loikaw township in Kayah State. Low-cost housing apartments were also built in the towns in other regions and states which really need them,” the official added.

The ministry will cooperate with the Construction and Housing Development Bank and sell these low-cost units through an instalment system – from eight to 15 years – and they would give priority to low-income persons, civil servants and pensioners for these apartments, he explained.

Under the new government, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein called for collaboration between local construction companies and small construction business owners to build low-cost housings and new housings on city outskirts.

U Thar Htay, chair of Myanmar Construction Entrepreneur Association (MCEA), said earlier that the MCEA – with its members numbering over 2000 – is ready to join forces with the government.

“The government has recently decided to assign the low-cost housing project to us. We will collaborate with the government.

“We have not discussed the project’s commencement date and locations, but we plan to work on the project very soon and hope to start construction in the next budget year,” he added.

According to a statement released last week by the Ministry of Construction, the ministry aims to transform over 330 cities in Myanmar systematically into cities with excellent infrastructure, and to build one million government and private-owned housings in those cities by 2030.

A representative from the ministry said that the Department of Urban and Housing Development is currently drafting an urban and regional development project bill and a national housing development bill, while housing development projects will be carried out at the national level.

“The Ministry of Construction is working hard to ensure that all citizens can live in households which promote a higher standard of living. National, urban and housing policies will also be implemented.

“In addition to the necessary housing projects, the respective ministries will collaborate with financial organisations to set up a national housing fund system,” said minister U Win Khaing last week.

Moreover, the laws, bills, regulations, structure and the necessary framework essential for the development of the construction sector will be established, according to the ministry.

“Myanmar Building Codes”, which are meant to offer guidelines for the Myanmar construction sector, were released in 2016 by the Ministry of Construction in collaboration with local academics, foreign scholars and other organisations, with the help of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat). The Ministry was also drafting the “Building and Construction Sector Development Bill” which will affect the sector throughout the country, given that the bill has the approval of the union government, a representative from the Ministry of Construction said.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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