Iraqi Housing Crisis Beckons

This article was written by Abeer Mohammed, and was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net. It is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq may face a major housing crisis in the next few years unless it takes steps to encourage foreign investment in the construction of homes for the growing population.

The government, it seems, needs to battle corruption, bureaucracy and improve security in order to complete a development plan, designed back in 2006, that envisages the construction of two million housing units.

In 2006, Iraqi’s ministry of construction and housing announced it would pay for 300,000 housing units while, due to budgetary constraints, foreign investment funds would be sought for the additional 1.7 million units – all to be built by 2016.

Out of the 300,000 units, only 7,000 have been built so far with a final completion date for the rest set for either 2017 or 2018, two years behind schedule, Istebraq al-Shauk, senior deputy minister for construction and housing, said.

Meanwhile, around 20 per cent of Iraqis are either squatting, homeless or at risk of being made homeless, although exact figures are unavailable, Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi, spokesman for the Iraqi central bureau of statistics, said.

Building affordable housing units was one of the key demands made by Iraqi protesters in demonstrations throughout the country in February.

Last year, in a move interpreted as an attempt to attract foreign investors, parliament passed a law regulating investment procedures in Iraq, with the accent on curbing corruption and red tape.

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