Ministry seeks foreign partners for low-cost housing

By KO KO AUNG | FRONTIER

YANGON — Foreign investors have been invited to form partnerships with the Ministry of Construction to build affordable housing, a senior ministry offcial said on September 16.

The ministry had been seeking expressions of interest from foreign investors since last month, Daw Moe Thida, the deputy director of its Department of Urban and Housing Development told the Euromoney Myanmar Global Investment Forum in Nay Pyi Taw.

Daw Moe Thida said sharp increases in land prices meant the Ministry of Housing lacked the financial resources for big developments, such as the Ayeyarwon afford- able housing project in Yangon’s Dagon Seikkan Township.

Myanmar companies had also been invited to participate in affordable housing projects, but most lacked the financial resources for long-term developments, she said. Population growth in Yangon and an increase in congested slum areas on the city’s outskirts had highlighted the urgent need for low-cost housing.

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Yangon’s population was expected to reach 10 million within 15 years and would create demand for 2.5 million housing units, or 170,000 a year, of which 40,000 would need to be affordable housing, she said.

Daw Thida Moe said foreign investors had so far hesitated to show interest because of restrictions applying to their participation in the partnerships, a situation the ministry was trying to overcome.

The restrictions had been imposed because of concerns about “hot money” moves by foreign investors making short-term profits and withdrawing from housing projects, she said.

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