REDF loans helped build million homes

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Updated 18 January 2013
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REDF loans helped build million homes

Some 38 years following its founding, the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) has provided financial assistance for the construction of about a million home in the Kingdom.
“The REDF made 811,864 loans worth SR 263.78 billion to construct 974,237 housing units since its was established in 1975,” according to a statement released by the REDF yesterday.
The Riyadh-based fund with its 29 branches across the Kingdom primarily aims to build houses and residential complexes across the country.
The fund's initial capital of SR 250 million jumped to SR 183 billion in 2011, making it one of the largest financing agencies in the world that seeks to help citizens acquire high-quality homes, according to the statement as quoted by the Saudi Press Agency.
The REDF extends long-term, interest-free loans, with a repayment time of 25 years. It also offers interest-free loans to Saudi investors to construct multipurpose building complexes that include housing, office facilities and exhibition halls. The loans to investors were sufficient to cover 50 percent of the total cost of the construction with a ceiling of SR 10 million.
In its first five years, the REDF fulfilled its major objective by solving the housing crisis of the time caused by the Kingdom's extraordinary pace of development.
In 2011, a royal order was issued to lift the loan limit from SR 300,000 to SR 500,000 and simplify the formalities related to taking a loan. After that order, the waiting period for loans was done away with. An eligible loan applicant can receive the loan at the time of his choice without any time limit. The entire loan amount for a completed building could be paid in three months after the completion.
The REDF would also receive the required documents from a selected loan applicant by post as opposed to the previous requirement of the applicant showing up in-person.
In line with the government’s instructions, the REDF strives to disburse loans to people in all parts of the Kingdom and that is why people in 4,343 cities, towns and villages have received its assistance.
In March 1989, the Council of Ministers entrusted REDF with the task of distributing the finished housing units constructed by the then Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Riyadh, Dammam Alkhobar, Ahsa, Qatif, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and Buraidah. The fund completed the distribution of 56,120 housing units after equipping them with utilities in 2001. It is still supervising those units.
From 1975 to the end of the 1993, the REDF advanced 411,711 personal loans worth SR 107. 97 billion to build 489,404 housing units. The Fund has also advanced 2,470 investment loans with a total value of SR 5,15 billion, which contributed to the construction of 29,227 residential units, 2,857 offices and 5,125 trade exhibitions.
The total loans disbursed by the REDF until the end of 2006 amounted to SR 134.1 billion.


Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena getting ready to driver her car as Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving iib Saturday midnight. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Saudi women at the wheel: the first 24 hours

  • The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
  • Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

JEDDAH:  Women around the Kingdom have turned the ignition in their cars for the first time on their home soil and hit the roads throughout the country. They have gone on social media to express their joy at this monumental occasion which has officially changed the course of their lives. 

Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena was among the very first women to drive in the Kingdom as soon as the clock struck midnight. 

Women in their cars enthusiastically and wholeheartedly cheered on their fellow female drivers on this memorable night. 

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated, said Almaeena.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urges all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.”

Almaeena highlighted the significance of being a defensive driver. “I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”

On how society is adapting to this major change, Almaeena said: “Tomorrow is the first day, mentally and psychologically it already had that shift. As I mentioned, it’s a paradigm shift. In perception and how they view women, their capabilities — as equal partners. 

“Mentally it’s already there, and physically we will see — as we start — more and more encouragement for both men and women. Even some of the women who weren’t feeling comfortable about driving, it’s going to be encouraging for them, in a live demonstration and evidence that women can do it.” 

As roads around Saudi Arabia have been inhabited by a new breed of drivers, how has this affected the traffic flow in Saudi Arabia?

 “As of 12 a.m., the implementation of the Supreme Court order to enable women to drive and the implementation of traffic regulations to both men and women is officially in effect," said Col. Sami Al-Shwairkh, the official spokesman for General Security in the Kingdom. "The security and traffic status on all roads and areas around the Kingdom have been reported as normal. There have not been any records from our monitoring of any unusual occurrences on the road throughout the Kingdom.” 

To commemorate this occasion, as seen in the pictures circulating on social media, traffic policemen were handing roses to female drivers early on Sunday.

The General Security has already reported that it will be providing the required provisions for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.

Private insurance company Najm, in partnership with the General Department of Traffic, has hired 40 women and trained them to respond to road accidents involving female drivers.

The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force.