Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Tran Nam and former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi met to discuss developing social housing in Hanoi on October 30.

Nam gave his host a brief introduction on housing development in Vietnam in general and social housing in particular.

In Vietnam , the urbanisation rate has been growing at 1-2 percent annually and the government has issued a national strategy on housing development by 2020 with a vision to 2030, he said.

Nam went on to say that in recent years, the government has developed numerous programmes to help rural people and low income earners access social housing.

The Ministry of Construction is also carrying out a range of housing projects for students, workers at industrial parks and poorly paid rural workers.

According to Nam , by 2015, the demand for housing, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi , is estimated to be around 250,000 houses. However, the on-going programmes have only provided 40,000 houses.

Vietnam is looking for more overseas investors, as well as other sources to get involved in the construction market, he added.

Former Prime Minister Badawi and several experts from Malaysia shared their experiences of building houses for low-income earners.

He said that in his country, the Government, banks, investors and buyers are committed to working with each other, which allows projects to run smoothly.

The cost of social housing is half the market level, he said, adding that the Malaysian government asked its central bank to offer soft loans for buyers.

Deputy Minister Nam welcomed the Malaysian company Premier Asia Capital’s intention to take part in housing development projects in Vietnam .

The Construction Ministry is committed to supporting the company during its operations in Vietnam and its representatives will pay fact finding tours to housing projects in Malaysia at a later date, the Vietnamese official said.-VNA