Housing should not be a problem


Al-Madina newspaper

THE Minister of Housing Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Hoqail will appear before the Shoura Council today (Wednesday), and will present his ministry's plans. He will also listen to the members' comments and observations.

The Shoura Council has opened the field for citizens to post their questions about the ministry of housing through fax and email. Through the follow-up of these questions and the feedback I am getting from people about the ministry decisions and its programs, I am sure that they questions will be limited to the following points, which I will present below.

The ministry, from the day it started as a housing authority and later became a ministry, was receiving huge support from the government. Despite that, all the ministers down the line were starting a plan and then changing it to another. They also start programs then cancel it and change it with another program. In the past years, they have been giving one promise over another, while the citizens are living in rented places and suffering from its high cost. Rent cost sometimes eat half of citizen’s salaries. It is difficult to pay rents, especially these days with the changing economy. Are we going to have an end to this problem?

The ministry through its latest program has been transformed from a ministry into a broker. Its main task was limited to hand over those who need homes to banks and real-estate development companies, so they can be hooked with long-term loans with huge profit to the banks and these real estate companies. Is this the role and the message of the ministry of housing?

Those who were granted loans from Real Estate Development Fund, before the new regulations of the ministry of housing were formed, are tired of asking about their loans. When are they going to get it?

Before I conclude here, anyone visiting Egypt, will notice that in the past years, hundreds of housing projects and big cities in all provinces were established. It is providing its citizens — from all segments, poor and rich — affordable housing units, despite the fact that the Egyptian economy is facing a lot of challenges and difficulties. Why can’t our ministry benefit from these successful experiences and use it to improve our housing programs?

Lastly, there are two crises that are causing us great headache, housing and domestic labor recruitment. Indications show that these are not real and just bubbles that were created by bureaucracy and chaos, and before all that the greed of the private sector. When is this going to end?