The government is building 200,000 residential units annually as part of the Social Housing Programme, with 46,000 of them located in Cairo, according to the programme’s executive body head, Salah Hassan.
In an interview with state television Sunday, Hassan said the cost of the units does not exceed EGP 135,000, “even though the real cost is double this figure, but the government bears the difference”, he noted.
Discussing the conditions of obtaining the units, Hassan pointed out that the minimum age of applicants was amended to 21, previously having been 45. Other restrictions also include that the income of families should be no more than EGP 3,000, and EGP 1,200 for individuals.
The Social Housing Programme is sometimes referred to as the 1m units project, and is different from UAE-based company Arabtec’s 1m residential units project, which was announced in March 2014.
The national project was announced by Mubarak’s last housing minister, Ahmed Al-Maghrabi. The project was initially announced during the 25 January Revolution, urging people to apply, but the minister made no mention of the conditions.
The fourth phase of applying for the programme was launched in February, according to Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly. However, only 57 units of the project have been handed to citizens, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). This is out of 13,000 units that should have been handed over as the first phase of the project.
The post-revolution government announced the project’s implementation in July 2012. Construction was projected to last five years, from fiscal year (FY) 2012/13 to FY 2016/17, with an average of 200,000 units expected to be constructed each year.
According to the study, the number of applications had exceeded 6m requests in August 2011, the government said at that time, closing the application phase. The period of the project was five years, with the units to be built by the public sector.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had directly supported the project after its announcement, as the Engineering Corps had built the first phase, consisting of 160,000 units in 2012.
The study criticised that after three years of adopting the project, some details remained undefined. These include: the number of units that will be established in each governorate; the percentage of implementation; and the specifications of the units.
The government delivered just 11% of its project target in fiscal years (FY) 2012/13 and 2013/14, according to the EIPR. The budget allocation for the project in the FY 2014/15 state budget amounts to EGP 9.5bn in total.
In November 2014, the Social Housing Fund was established, under the Ministry of Housing, and is responsible for imposing the general policies of constructing and managing the units. It will also be responsible for financing the project from the budget allocations and sales revenues.