BEIRUT: The Public Corporation for Housing is studying the possibility of launching a project for building low-cost homes in south Lebanon, the corporation’s chairman Rony Lahoud said. “We are planning on building new housing units in the south in partnership with municipalities in a bid to provide citizens with houses at lower prices while encouraging them to move back to their villages,” he told The Daily Star.
“Each of our planned projects will be built in harmony with the atmosphere of the hosting village and the surrounding houses,” he said.
According to Lahoud, the project is still under study and hence it needs time to be implemented. “We are still looking for funders,” he said. “But now that we have closed all our dues to banks, it is time for us to think of such long-term projects.”
Over a week ago, the corporation settled all its dues to commercial banks following a cash injection of LL40 billion ($26.5 million) from the government in the form of an advance payment.
Before settling its dues to banks, the corporation suffered for around three years from a financial deficit due to a drop in its income and its continuous supply of loans.
Lahoud explained that the corporation generates its income from many sources.
One primary source of income to the corporation comes from fees on some official papers and which it stopped receiving from the Finance Ministry at some point. “We stopped receiving these fees at some point but then we started asking for them in 2011,” he said. “They stand at around LL40 billion per year.”
Other sources of income for the corporation included taxes imposed on the additional Mikati floor in addition to 2 percent of the value of construction permits and 5 percent of fees on settlements of construction violations, Lahoud said.
“We have also been impacted by the deactivation of taxes on the additional Mikati floor, noting that the demand on our loans was simultaneously increasing,” he said.
“The corporation’s loans reached 5,622 in 2014 at a value of LL1,000 billion compared to 5,222 loans with a value of LL973 billion,” he said.
The corporation has been operating for 15 years with a portfolio of 65,000 housing loans so far and a ceiling of LL270 million for each loan. It was set up to help low- and middle-income families buy homes at low interest rates that do not exceed 4.47 percent by offering the possibility to pay a 10-percent down payment only with maturity periods of close to 30 years.
Lahoud explained that beneficiaries should be Lebanese citizens for at least 10 years with a monthly family income of less than $4,500. Applicants, he added, must be above 21 years old and the area of the purchased house must be no more than 200 square meters.
He said that the corporation was in the process of introducing some changes to its administrative work. “We will implement full automation of our work and everything will be soon computerized,” he said.
Lahoud added that the website would also be ready and accessible in a month and a half, enabling clients to check the requirements for applying online.
“We are also planning on hiring new employees because a big number of our staff will soon reach the age of retirement,” he said.
Lahoud added that the corporation had a total of 97 employees distributed over its offices in Sidon, Tripoli, Nabatieh, Jezzine, Zahle and Beirut. “We should be having around 180 employees.”
Last Update Date:Date de mise à jour:آخر تحديث في تاريخ:6/15/2015 9:15 PM