Government housing project to assist youth [Archives:2008/1201/Local News]

October 23 2008

Mahmoud Assamiee
SANA'A, Oct. 21 ) The Ministry of Public Works and Roads (MPWR) is preparing a three year project to construct 18,000 housing units for citizens of limited income and government employees, at a total cost of YR 75 billion.

According to Qasem Atef, Director General of Housing Department in the MPWR, the project will provide more than 50,000 work opportunities, a matter that will not only help alleviate poverty but will also aid young couples who want to get married to find a house and start a family.

The project, says Atef, will assist a large number of public employees, who are unable to get married because of high rents and low income. Once the project is completed, the units are to be distributed to deserving people via local authorities.

Major cities in Yemen such Aden, Sana'a, Taiz and Hodeidah are heavily populated and it is difficult for young people to find an affordable house or apartment to rent in them. This is often an obstacle that forces young couples to postpone their marriage.

While most Yemeni people are very poor, marriage in Yemen is a costly endeavor because of high dowry and the customs accompanying a wedding. Some parents also impose very difficult conditions to marry off their daughters, among these the conditions that the bridegroom must first own a house or a flat.

The first phase of the Assaleh Project will cost YR 27 billion and is expected to be completed within 18 to 24 months from the date of handing over lands to contractors.

The units will be distributed among nine governorates: Aden, Lahj, Hodeida, Adhale'a, Hajjah, Hadramout, Abyan, Taiz and the capital Sana'a.

According to Atef, Aden received a greater portion of the units, amounting to 2,000 because it is heavier populated and receives migrants from different parts of the country. Sana'a and Taiz follow with 1,000 units each.

Atef says the greater part of the financing comes from the ministry's budget while the rest is from project's partners, insurance and pension authorities, and the Credit Agricultural Cooperative Bank.

He indicated that construction has already started in the governorates of Aden, Hodeida, Lahj and Hajjah where sites have already been handed over to contractors who have received the 20 percent of the funds for starting the construction process. Construction in the other governorates is to be started as soon as land issues are settled.

The project will be constructed in the form of housing compounds of 5-storey buildings of 20 units each, four on each floor. Each unit, costing about YR 4.6 million, is to have an area ranging from 75 to 105 square meters.

The units will be distributed to individuals in employment on the basis of recommendations from local authorities in the governorates according to need. According to Atef, those chosen will pay for the units by installments to be deducted from their salaries over a period of 20 to 25 years, after which they will receive a document of possession to the unit.