Comprehensive housing strategy ‘needed’

Comprehensive housing strategy ‘needed’
Updated 01 January 2013

Comprehensive housing strategy ‘needed’

Comprehensive housing strategy ‘needed’

A member of the Shoura Council has said the recently established Ministry of Housing cannot solve all housing problems by itself.
During a press conference after a Shoura Council session, Mohammad Al-Gwaihis said the Kingdom urgently needs a comprehensive strategy to solve the developmental, economic and social dimensions of the housing problem. Besides the limitations facing the Housing Ministry, the Real Estate Development Fund cannot grant loans to each citizen. “There should be a comprehensive strategic plan for all these issues,” Al-Gwaihis said.
He pointed out that the decision to grant all government employees housing allowance is an important one, as it will facilitate access to bank loans.
“The state should set up controls on landlords and real estate owners, so that no increase in rent is resorted to randomly,” he said.
The council approved the committee’s report concerning the practice of an engineering draft system. Al-Gwaihis revealed that the committee discovered on inspection 1,000 false engineering certificates being held by non-Saudis.
The draft system consists of 16 articles and compels practicing professionals and engineers to obtain a business license from the Saudi Council of Engineers.
The draft called upon faculty members of universities and others to get the necessary professional license, noting that the most important requirement for obtaining one is that the applicant should be the holder of the qualification certificates required to practice any individual engineering profession from a Saudi university or its equivalent. The applicant also has to pledge to abide by the charter of the professional practitioner and pass technical exams in his field of specialization.
Most attendants agreed on the necessity of obtaining a professional authorization for practicing from the Saudi Council of Engineers. However, although some were convinced of the competence and capabilities of the Saudi Council of Engineers in assuming this task, others said the role of the council is vocational rehabilitation and not equation of academic certificates.
In another context, the Shoura Council approved the expansion in the program of house visits and contracts with hospitals in the private sector for admitting chronic cases, as well as to allocate money for these two programs. It discussed other issues concerning hospitals, such as statistics and information related to medical errors.
The council approved the recommendations of the Human Resources Committee on the annual report of the Institute of Public Administration. Earlier, the committee’s recommendations stressed the importance of increasing the number of intensive short courses for training employees on required skills.
Furthermore, the council called upon the Institute of Public Administration to adopt an urgent time plan to solve the lack of English teachers by attracting Saudis.
The council also approved a draft memorandum of understanding for technical cooperation between the Kingdom and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.