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Iranian Lawmakers Address Housing, Urban Needs in Sixth Plan

Parliamentarians obligated the administration to offer cheap mortgages and provide lands to help  low-income families.Parliamentarians obligated the administration to offer cheap mortgages and provide lands to help  low-income families.

Lawmakers set the agenda for the housing sector over the next five years in their latest open session on Monday as part of policies set in the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21).  

The plan seals the fate of the controversial Mehr Housing Scheme and offers bigger support for low-income families to own homes.

According to the parliamentary news service ICANA, lawmakers approved Article 73 of the Sixth Plan 154-2 with four MPs abstaining out of the total of 222 present in the Monday session.

The plan offers a medium-term roadmap designed by the government and Majlis to help achieve sustainable growth by outlining strategies in its budget planning for the next five years.

Article 73 in general is concerned with organizing and supporting the construction and supply of housing–a key component of Iran’s economy.

Parliamentarians obligated the administration to offer cheap mortgages and provide lands to help low-income families purchase a house in small towns. The credit is to be provided by the Housing Foundation of Islamic Revolution over five years with the complementary goal of reducing the vulnerability of rural residential areas and renovating old houses.

According to the contents of the article, at least 200,000 rural residential units are to be renovated by allocating cheap mortgages at a rate of 5%.

It also obliges the government to provide the funds and lands to help low-income groups in cities and towns to build or buy at least 150,000 homes on a yearly basis. Cities with a population of under 100,000 people have been prioritized.

The government will also identify and prioritize people eligible to receive these mortgages through the Housing Foundation of Islamic Revolution and with the help of Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, State Welfare Organization of Iran and charities supporting housing construction.

Another clause of the article tasks the government with helping needy neighborhoods throughout the country. It obligates the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, the Ministry of Interior and municipalities to “revive, improve, renovate and strengthen” at least 270 neighborhoods a year and to “ease access to services and improve infrastructure” around those neighborhoods.

   Mehr Housing Scheme  

The final part of the legislation dealt with the controversial Mehr Housing Scheme and the establishment of Geographic Information System.

“Bank Maskan [the agent bank of the housing sector] is obligated to act on behalf of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development to fulfill its previous responsibilities regarding the funding of Mehr Housing Scheme without committing to the construction of any new residential units under the scheme,” it reads.

The housing scheme, conceived of by the previous administration, was meant to provide two million low-income strata of the society with affordable housing through free land and cheap credits, but it slowed down due to lack of financing and rise in inflation.

The incumbent administration, in spite of its opposition to the scheme, had announced that it would help complete the project.

As part of the new mandate, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has been instructed to “take measures to establish a Geographic Information System, create the infrastructure and form a suitable structure to share the location data with all relevant bodies”.

This is to be undertaken to implement construction and development projects, monitor violations and protect citizen’s rights.   

 

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