Government To Incentivise Low-cost Housing Projects

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As part of their new affordable housing policy, the government is calling on developers to submit proposals for low-cost housing projects under the promise of tempting incentives, including tax deductions.

A low-cost housing project built outside of Phnom Penh. Piphup Thmey

The government adopted its new affordable housing policy in 2017 in an attempt to improve the lives of low and middle-income Cambodians by encouraging developers to focus on low-cost housing projects.

Speaking at a workshop yesterday, Luyna Ung, deputy director of the General Department of Budget at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said that under the new policy, incentives to developers of affordable housing projects include tax breaks and the facilitation of bureaucratic procedures, such as obtaining construction permits, business licenses and other necessary documents.

The government will also invest in infrastructure around areas where affordable housing projects are being raised, Mr Ung said.

Regarding taxes, he said the government will give special rates for paying income tax, property tax and VAT, among others.

“Our aim is to improve the lives of underprivileged citizens and help them afford proper housing,” Mr Ung said.

To gain access to the incentives, the projects must include at least 100 low-cost housing units priced between $15,000 and $30,000. Moreover, the projects must be located within a 20 kilometre radius of Phnom Penh and its periphery and must contain green spaces.

Developers must also cooperate with financial institutions to create credit schemes with low interest rates to enhance the project’s affordability.

The deadline for submitting the proposals and gain access to the incentives runs out July 20.

Ros Seilava, Undersecretary of State at Ministry of Economy and Finance, said that while many developers are raising high-end apartment buildings, few are focusing on projects for the poorer segments of society.

He said the new policy to incentivise investment in affordable housing will contribute to the development of housing projects for the less wealthy segments of society, increase the quality of construction, boost home ownership rates and enhance people’s access to utilities.

According to the Ministry of Land Management, between 2015 and 2030, Cambodia will need to build about 50,000 new homes a year to meet housing demands as a result of the country’s rapid urbanisation.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.

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