(MENAFN - Arab News) Participants in a workshop on housing and the expected role of the private sector yesterday emphasized the significance of the Saudi national strategy for housing in providing adequate housing to citizens.
The event, organized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the sector needs a national mechanism to coordinate and promote the role and efforts of the relevant authorities and take advantage of the support provided by the government on housing.
Addressing the workshop, chairman of the RCCI's real estate committee Ali bin Usman Al-Zaid said the workshop's objectives among others are to provide an opportunity to members of the sector to find out about the strategy's goals and talk to specialists at the Ministry of Housing.
He said this is to achieve a common goal especially in the development of the real estate sector that would contribute to economic development and in line with the state's efforts aimed at the provision of adequate housing for citizens.
He also stressed the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors through a review of current infrastructure and easing of legislation and regulations to facilitate the partnership process.
Al-Zaid expressed his desire to work with real estate officials in the ministry to resolve the issue, and suggested taking advantage of all the mechanisms proposed by the government to address this issue through the national strategy for housing.
The event has discussed the strategy and mechanisms to achieve its objectives in light of new frameworks and the vision of activating the partnership between the public and private sectors.
A number of papers were presented including one by Adnan Ghosheh of the German Foundation for International Cooperation that covered an overview of the strategy's features and future vision that would resolve the housing issue in the Kingdom by tackling problems and obstacles.
He said too many authorities dealing with the same issue was one of the direct causes of the housing shortage.
He said achieving the objectives of the strategy required united efforts both in the private and public sectors, adding the strategy covered all aspects of the housing issue and their solutions. He said the absence of regulation, legislation and sound information are some of the immediate factors causing housing shortages.
Abbas Hadi, general supervisor of planning and studies at the Ministry of Housing, said the strategy is in its final stages of completion and will be submitted for approval soon, noting the ministry embarked on a number of programs, including holding several meetings with stakeholders to discuss solutions to the housing issue.
He stated in accordance with the strategy, a National Center for Housing Research would be established in order to facilitate the provision of accurate information.
He said the ministry is keen to develop a program to determine the criteria for those eligible for government support to help them obtain homes. He pointed out that the ministry has several programs to solve the housing issue quickly and in accordance with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Naif.
Member of the Subcommittee for Real Estate Services Mohammed Ajlan gave another important presentation on the mechanisms to provide housing based on new legal changes.
He said Saudi Arabia needed the participation of the private sector and financial institutions working as a single entity to resolve housing shortages. The provision of government land at a low price will help, he added.
Ajlan concluded with a proposal to review the mechanisms of the Real Estate Development Fund and expand its role further.
Fahd Al-Qassim, CEO of Amwal Financial Consultants, presented a paper that dealt with mortgage projects and financial studies on housing. He talked about the issues with funding and also provided statistics on housing in the Kingdom.
Al-Qassim proposed the establishment of a central bank for housing that provided savings, credit and help in the application of the strategy's proposals.
He also suggested encouraging mortgage companies to solve the problem of tenants who delay rent payments.