The minister said: “The Ministry adopts several measures to provide integrated, fast, efficient and high-quality services. Among these measures are strengthening the decentralisation in conjunction with the implementation of the comprehensive digital transformation plan, expanding the powers granted to general managers in all fields, reviewing service fees and engineering procedures, strengthening partnership with the private sector and developing some unified service outlets.””Tenders have been issued to construct new buildings for the General Directorates of Housing and Urban Planning in Al Dhahirah and South Al Sharqiyah governorates”, he said. He added that the ministry, in support of the real estate sector and within the framework of its plan to provide more stimulus packages, reduced the percentage of fees for land sales transactions from 5 per cent to 3 per cent. As a result, the number of legal transactions reached more than 205,000 from 2021 until April of this year, with a trading value exceeding RO 3.2 billion. The ministry has also provided usufruct land, the most important of which are for food security projects that achieve development goals, have qualitative value and constitute added-value. “The number of usufruct contracts exceeded 9,000. The ministry is working to offer 430 usufruct plots with fees set for each purpose and 200 usufruct deals by bidding, distributed over all the governorates of the Sultanate of Oman. This contributes to achieving the goals related to the economic sectors and is part of the government’s integration steps aimed at sustainable growth in accordance with the frameworks set by the urban strategy”, he explained. In addition, one of the ministry’s objectives is to distribute residential lands according to an approved methodology that takes into account the gradation in the specified number of distributions to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the “Choose Your Land” platform after linking with the relevant government agencies. “In this context, the distribution of nearly 8,000 residential plots has been completed by mid-June”, Dr Al Shueili said. The ministry also studied and decided on about 35,000 requests to prove and register properties from 2020 to April 2022, while more than 27,000 requests are targeted in the next phase.” Among the achievements is giving away 1,259 housing assistance worth RO 30 million during 2021.

The recent royal orders to strengthen the housing assistance programme with RO 70 million during the current five-year plan will cover nearly 2,800 applications and exempt 1,836 cases from the housing loans, with a total amount of more than RO 33 million.In addition, there is a move to expand the National Initiative for Integrated Residential Neighbourhoods ‘Sorouh’ by offering three new sites for more than 4,000 housing units. There is also an initiative to bid on ten sites distributed over the governorates during this year”, the minister confirmed.He elaborated that in view of the suspension of the housing assistance programme since 2015 and in view of dealing with the housing loan programme, the ministry is seeking with the concerned authorities to agree to transfer the programme to the Oman Housing Bank to facilitate the process of deciding on the applications. The ministry confirmed that the applications retain the right of seniority and registration controls and that the government will continue to support this programme.

Governorates to fast track growth – oman observer