The Ministry of Housing started Sunday the fourth phase in the One Million Residential Units project, allowing citizens to apply for 20,000 units in 18 governorates until 5 March.
The ministry said it focuses on governorates that do not have enough desert land for construction such as Gharbeya, Red Sea, Matruh, and the North Sinai governorates.
Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly clarified in a statement that these units are finished and ready for residence, adding that each unit is 90 sqm.
The application requirements include the specification that applicants should not own any residential units, should be living in the concerned governorate and not be between the ages of 21 and 45.
Accepted applicants will have to pay EGP 5,000 in advance, and EGP 480 as monthly instalments, with a 7% annual interest increase over 15 years.
The 1m residential units project or the “social housing 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 at the time made no mention of conditions.
The post-revolution government announced the project’s implementation in July 2012. Construction was projected to last five years, from the fiscal year (FY) 2012/13 to FY 2016/17, with an average of 200,000 units expected to be constructed each year.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) issued a study criticising the project in December, claiming that the government has handed over “only 57 residential units” to citizens. The government delivered just 11% of its project target in fiscal years (FY) 2012/13 and 2013/14, according to the EIPR.
The study also criticised that, three years after adopting the project, some details remained undefined. These include: the number of units that will be established in each governorate; how many units will be established each year; the percentage of implementation; and the specifications of the units.
According to the study, the project’s implementation is proceeding “at a very slow rate”, highlighted by only 57 units of the project being handed to citizens so far. This is out of 13,000 units that should have been handed over in the project’s first phase.
The budget allocation for the project in 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.
On 27 January, the cabinet decided to allocate additional EGP 1bn from the budget to the Ministry of Housing for the project’s implementation.