Manila: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $24 million loan and a $6 million grant to support the Government of Bhutan’s plans to improve access to adequate and affordable rental housing.
Bhutan’s urban population is slowly growing, driven by people moving from rural areas to seek better livelihoods. This is creating pressure in the provision of urban services such as housing. Affordable housing is becoming scarce due to limited housing stock and usable land. In 2020, the Government of Bhutan approved its National Housing Policy which aims to promote adequate rental housing units, homeownership, public–private partnerships, and green and energy-efficient housing.
"ADB supports the government’s vision of providing safe, affordable, and adequate housing to its citizens," said ADB Project Administration Unit Head for South Asia Jude Kohlhase in a press release on Wednesday.
"This project will improve the lives of low-income households who will have access to green and resilient housing units and associated services, contributing to sustained economic growth and people’s overall well-being," Kohlhase added.
ADB will support the construction of 1,000 rental housing units in Nganglam, Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Thimphu, and Trashiyangtse. These rental units will benefit lower- to middle-income government and private sector employees, including marginalized municipal waste workers. The housing units will incorporate gender-inclusive, climate and disaster resilience features, and reflect local cultural heritage and traditional architecture. The project will also build three community service centers and two waste recycling stations.
The project will build the institutional capacity of the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), the government-owned enterprise responsible for providing and maintaining public housing. It will also help the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MOWHS) strengthen the country’s National Housing Policy. This includes reviewing housing policies and regulatory frameworks, developing climate- and disaster-resilient building designs, establishing a national homeownership strategy, and conducting awareness-raising and training activities.
ADB will provide an additional $1 million technical assistance (TA) grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory support to the NHDCL in monitoring the uptake of housing units by target low-income groups. The TA will also promote the use of innovative construction technology and practices and develop a housing management information system for MOWHS.
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