The head of New Aswan City’s development, Mostafa Said, announced Saturday evening the construction of more than 4,000 residential units in the city.
This falls within the parameters and funding mechanisms established by Egypt’s Social Housing Programme, an initiative that planned to offer 1m homes for low-income individuals and families but has been forestalled since its inception in 2011.
Construction on 640 units has already been completed, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Housing.
The Social Housing Programme is sometimes referred to as the One Million units project, and is different from the One Million Residential Unites overseen by UAE-based Arabtec, which was announced in March 2014 and plans to develop 1m units of housing on 160m square meters of land with investment from the private sector of $40 bn (EGP 280bn).
The announcement continues attention upon a project that has continually fallen below initial expectations since it was announced during the 25 January Revolution by Hosni Mubarak’s final housing minister, Ahmed Al-Maghrabi.
The programme was seen as a palliative measure at the time, as application was widely encouraged without provision of the conditions under which applications would be considered. In a study issued in December 2014, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) stated that the Egyptian state had handed over only 57 residential units to citizens and had only allocated 11% of projected target in fiscal years (FY) 2012/13 and 2013/14.
The programme’s largest issuance of housing units came in July when the Ministry of Housing announced the construction of 30,000 residential units in nine cities.
The Social Housing Programme: a brief history
The programme’s history has been mired in disappointment, as budgetary shortfalls coupled with the political vacillations and the concomitant signatory projects that attend governmental changes have cultivated a climate in which political vision outpaces the infrastructural and financial capacity.
Following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the post-25 January Revolution government announced the project’s implementation in July 2012. Construction was projected to last five years, from fiscal year (FY) 2012/2013 to FY 2016/2017, with an average of 200,000 units expected to be constructed each year.
The number of applications had exceeded 6m requests in August 2011, the government said at that time, closing the application phase.
However, at the end of September 2015, only 34,491 units in 23 governorates have been fully implemented under the parameters established by the Social Housing Programme.
Approximately 2,472 units have been implemented in Cairo; 6,192 in Alexandria; 4,680 in Assiut; 3,000 units in Suez; and 2,484 units in Beheira. Every unit consists of three rooms, a hall, one bathroom, and one kitchen and has an area of 90 square metres.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) directly supported the project after its announcement, as the Engineering Corps had built the first phase, consisting of 160,000 units in 2012.
The budget allocation for the project in the FY 2014/2015 state budget amounts to EGP 9.5bn in total.
The minimum age of applicants was amended to 21 years of age, having previously been placed at 45 years of age. Other restrictions also outline that the monthly income of families should be no more than EGP 3,000, and EGP 1,200 for individuals.
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.