- Special Pages
KUWAIT CITY: The wealthy state of Kuwait plans to build around 174,000 houses by 2020, the housing minister told parliament yesterday, in projects that will cost billions of dollars.
“Currently, we have more than 100,000 applications for houses from citizens. The number grows by over 8,000 a year and we expect to require around 174,000 units by 2020,” Salem Al Othaina said in a special parliament debate.
“By 2020, we plan to build three new cities with a capacity of 108,000 units... In addition, we plan to create several new residential areas with around 66,000 units,” he said.
One of the three cities is planned on the Saudi border while the other two will be built close to the frontier with Iraq, Othaina said. He gave no estimates for the total cost of the eight-year plan, but one lawmaker said the infrastructure alone for the planned projects would cost more
Othaina said the ministry plans to invite companies in the private sector to take part in the project.
The special debate was called by MPs wanting to know why the government was lagging in meeting housing applications despite having more than $400bn of surpluses generated from oil sales.
Under Kuwait’s generous welfare system, all Kuwaitis, estimated at just 1.2 million, have the right to apply for a government house after getting married, but the waiting time has recently soared to around 15 years.