Iran’s New Urban Development Minister says the government does not have money to build one million housing units per year as promised by President Ebrahim Raisi.
Mehrdad Bazrpash, who was approved by the Iranian parliament as Minister of Road and Urban Development on Wednesday, said building four million housing units in four years with cost $80 billion at $20,000 per unit.
Raisi promised to build one million apartments per year during his presidential campaign in 2021, without much consideration to the cost involved.
Asking parliamentarians how this large amount of money can be resourced, he said it is almost twice the amount of the country’s budget this year.
He also mentioned that around 240 thousand previously built government housing units remain unfinished, and the parliament should think of a resource to complete them.
Driven by former President MahmoudAhmadinejad’s populist vision, a project called Mehr was launched more than decade ago seeking to enable homeownership for the economically “oppressed”. The project proved to be a failure do to bad planning and mismanagement.
The scheme caused prices to soar, enabled corruption and profiteering, and made affordable housing out of reach not only for the poor, but also for the relatively well-off.
Reports say the ministry has not built even one housing unit so far, after Raisi and ex-minister Rostam Ghasemi took office.
From the beginning when the proposal was made, many experts did not take it seriously, arguing that Iran would need nearly $15 billion a year to construct one million units, money it simply does not have amid economic crisis and sanctions.