Promise to build millions of homes broken as Iran’s economy deteriorates
Economic difficulties in Iran have worsened and people’s priority is to stay alive, a local website reported, adding that government ministers had lost credibility.
According to a report by Zeynab Ghobesysshavi of the Roiuydad24 news site, few remember that Rostam Ghasemi is Iran’s Minister of Urban Development and that he was the man who was supposed to implement President Ebrahim Raisi’s main promise: Build a million houses a year.
The report says the ministry has yet to build a single dwelling, nine months after Raisi and Ghasemi took office. Those who still remember Ghasemi, remember him with his blunders and blunders. Ghasemi outlined his plans for the oil ministry rather than the housing ministry when considering his credentials in Iran’s parliament (Majles) last August.
However, after a while, Ghasemi explained that he was not supposed to build a million houses every year. He further explained that it takes a year and a half to build one million homes. He promised to prepare the construction of two million houses. What was more important to the press was the fact that he had halved the number of houses that were planned to be built during the four years of Raisi’s presidency.
Ghasemi is lucky, the website writes, that Iranians are so concerned about making ends meet as the prices of basic commodities, including food, rise daily, that no one has taken worth asking about his housing plans.
From the start, when the proposal was made, many experts did not take it seriously, saying that Iran would need almost $15 billion a year to build a million units, money he just doesn’t have amid the economic crisis and sanctions.
Rostam Ghasemi, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development
Economic expert and academic Albert Boghosian said in an interview with Rouydad24 that it is quite possible to build one million residential units every year, but that the poorest segment of the population which is supposed to be the main beneficiary cannot afford to pay a mortgage for new houses. He suggested that the government should confront “the mafia” which contributes to the rising cost of housing rather than just focusing on building new houses.
He reminded those who chant the slogan of building a million houses every year that rebuilding a single building in downtown Tehran that was destroyed by a major fire took several years.
Meanwhile, Baytollah Sattarian, another economic expert, told the website: “We used to build some 300-400,000 homes every year, but most of them have been left vacant. So a number more practical would be to make 100,000 apartments per year.
Sattarian accused government officials of not knowing Iran’s housing market.
He also said that the government was unaware that an amount equal to the same amount of investment for housing construction should also be provided for buildings for educational, administrative, health and police, and other purposes in each neighborhood. Where can the government provide the cost of such projects? asked Sattarien.
He added that Iran needed double-digit economic growth to afford to build millions of homes, and joked: “In four months, the first year of the Raisi administration will come to an end. With the current situation, I can promise that we would be standing in the same place after the end of the four years.”