Economy, Business And Markets

Roads Ministry “Not Officially Responsible” for Mehr Scheme

Roads Ministry “Not Officially Responsible” for Mehr SchemeRoads Ministry “Not Officially Responsible” for Mehr Scheme

A senior housing official said on Monday the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development is “partly” in charge of Mehr Housing Project, as it is only tasked with providing lands for the controversial scheme.

“Out of 2.3 million housing units originally set to be built under the project, the ministry needs to care about only 550,000 units in accordance with a trilateral agreement signed between ministry officials, the bank and the owner,” Ahmad Asghari Mehrabadi, deputy minister of roads, said on Monday. He added that his ministry is neither the employer nor the contractor of the scheme.

“This is the job of the owners, who already received the loans, and the Housing Cooperatives, which was provided with cheap lands from the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, to complete the project, with us having no role in the construction process,” he said.

“Yet, we have been available to help out. So far, we have built mosques and schools for the Mehr scheme and already got involved in its infrastructure and superstructure developments.” Mehrabadi stressed that “legally speaking, the ministry does not have any official responsibility in this regard.”

However, Mehrabadi said, ministry officials are determined to help complete the lengthy project by allocating resources earned from subsidy reforms savings.

Last week, Mehrabadi announced that the government had worked to support the Mehr project by giving out property free of charge and also offering discount loans at rates as low as 4% in rural areas and 7% in major cities.

Mehrabadi on Monday blamed galloping inflation and economic sanctions weighing on the Iranian economy for the rise in construction material price, which had a direct impact on home prices.  To address the issue, the ministry called for raising the Mehr loan ceiling from 250 ($7,500 at market exchange rate) million rials to 300 million rials ($9,000), he said.

Money and Credit Council, along with ministry officials, are working to provide 300-million-rial loans for buyers of 791,000 housing units.