» » Gov’t ponders house plan for low-income families

The Ministry of Construction on Monday proposed that the Prime Minister approve a programme to build 184,000 houses for low-income people in urban centres between 2009 and 2015.

The programme needs an investment of VND49 trillion (US$2.97 billion) from central and provincial budgets and different economic sectors.

According to the ministry, of the 2 million civil servants in the country, 700,000 of them who live in urban centres do not have housing and often live with relatives.

Ha Noi tops the country’s list in providing limited housing with an average of 7-7.5sq.m of housing space per capita. HCM City has 12sq.m of space per capita.

The ministry said civil servant salaries were too low to cope with rising prices in the housing market, and the programme can provide accommodation for only 30 per cent of low-income households facing difficulties in buying their own homes.

The low-income housing programme hopes to provide 26,000 houses with a total floor space of 1.36 million sq.m of space each year.

The ministry also requested that funding of VND1.2 trillion (US$75 million) be earmarked for Ha Noi and HCM City to pilot the programme in 2009, the first year of implementation.

The ministry proposed that the Prime Minister consider the programme so that different ministries, relevant agencies, the municipal and provincial People’s Committees can provide capital.

Rising costs

A typical family in an urban centre has an average income of VND4-6 million a month.

At least 20 years of savings are needed to buy an average apartment in a high-rise residential building at the cost of VND800 million-VND1 billion ($50,000-62,500) per unit.

Minister of Construction Nguyen Hong Quan said the construction of low-income housing remained sluggish.

He blamed the slow speed on companies’ reluctance to invest big capital in projects, only to see low profits and a long period of cash retrieval.

The limited allocation of capital for low-income housing construction in localities is also blamed for the slow progress of the programme.

Localities said they had spent most of their funds on health, education and transport facilities. Few incentive policies exist to encourage businesses to build houses for low-income people.

Source: Viet Nam News

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