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جائزة الأميرة سبيكة بنت إبراهيم آل خليفة العالمية لتمكين المرأة Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Alkhalifa Global Award for Women Empoerment
H.E Eng. Basim Bin Yacob AlHamer
Minister of Housing
Housing .. A great History with a bright future
There is no doubt that the housing profile in the Kingdom of Bahrain has became the most highlighted living-related issue that comes on the top of the Bahraini citizens' priorities, which is fully understood by the wise leadership for decades, and therefore came the establishment of the Ministry of Housing in 1975 to be the authority assigned to provide social housing services for citizens with limited income in accordance with the constitution.
In fact, the provision of social housing was the governmental concern even before the establishment of the Ministry of Housing; in the sixties of the last century, the government established the Isa Town Project that included constructing several projects of social housing units, and by the eighties came the Hamad City Project, and those two cities did make a quantum leap in terms of urbanization and provision of housing for citizens.
But during the last two decades with the steady increase in population growth and density, the percentage on the request of housing services provided by the Ministry increased, creating a burden with its consequences going worse every day, what brought us to a situation of overcrowded applications for housing, then it reached its peak during the year 2011 when the number of applications for housing included on the waiting lists reached 50,000.
There is no doubt that the Ministry of Housing with the great support from the prestigious Bahraini government worked and still working on finding many solutions for sorting out that enormous number of applications for housing services, in order to reach the highest goal, achieving the sustainability in delivering the housing services promptly to every citizen who is subject to the standards of housing.
In order to achieve that, The Ministry of Housing established a five-year strategic plan, including many of the goals and programs through which the Ministry seeks to reduce the applications placed on the waiting lists by the end of 2016, a strategy that includes constructing projects of the new Bahraini cities, which the Ministry depends upon it a lot in fulfilling approximately 24,000 to 25,000 housing applications, as well as keeping on the new approach of signing partnership agreements with the private sector to construct social housing projects in various governorates of the Kingdom, these agreements thought to make a big leap in projects' construction field within a brief period of time.
The strategy also includes the Ministry's introduction of a package of massive housing projects this year and years to come once their related plans and designs are completed, in order to expedite the applications fulfillment; also the Ministry is on studying many nontraditional proposals on how to reduce the lists, including the real estate developers program and the mortgage system, as well as many other proposals, all aim at one goal, the promptness of providing social housing for citizens with limited income.
Year 2011 witnessed the emergence of many positive indicators that enhanced the Ministry's confidence towards applying its strategy items developed to resolve the housing issue, and acted like a strong motivator towards the continuation of the new approach initiated by the Ministry, and its most notable achievement was initiating the reclamation of the sea works in Sharq Al Hidd City housing project during the last December, which is the second largest and most important strategic project after the Northern City housing project, which the Ministry depends upon to fulfill all housing applications.
The Ministry also started the allocations process of more than 2500 housing units for citizens eligible, that allocation came as a natural result of the Ministry launching many housing projects during the year 2011 in various governorates of the Kingdom, what made the Ministry announce a new approach regarding the housing allocation process by allocating the units under construction to eligible citizens, in a move intended to confirm the Ministry's keenness to achieve a social stability among citizens to ensure their access to the housing units on the one hand, and on the other hand to reduce the number of applications on the waiting lists.
With the start of the new year, the Ministry of Housing signed the first and largest agreement for building social housing units in partnership with the private sector, as there would be built in accordance to this agreement more than 4000 social and economic housing units at the housing projects of Northern City, Bahir and Lozi areas, in a try of the Ministry to take a new step toward a strategic solutions to resolve the housing profile.
The most important factor of the Ministry's success in achieving those last steps was the integration and partnership with relevant ministries in the Kingdom, that contributed with great and real efforts to overcome all challenges and facilitate accomplishing our tasks, that contribution emerged in terms of their faith and concern for the need to solve the housing profile, which comes on the top of the Bahraini citizen's concerns, and we would like to thank them for their efforts.