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Iraqi Officials Hint At Looming Housing Shortage


An Iraqi family sits outside its destroyed home in Diyala in March 2008

An Iraqi family sits outside its destroyed home in Diyala in March 2008

BAGHDAD (RFE/RL) -- Iraq needs 3.5 million houses built over the next six years, and the country's housing ministry is struggling to keep up with demand.

Deputy Minister of Reconstruction and Housing Istabraq al-Shouk told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that in the next six years, the ministry can meet just 15 percent of the government's target of 525,000 houses.

Shouk said they are counting on the private sector to contribute and urged the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, as well as provincial governments, to lure developers by investing in infrastructure and utilities in prime development areas.

Parliament's economic committee deputy chairman, Unadim Kanna, told RFI that some of the 525,000 low-income housing units promised by the ministry will have to be outsourced because the administration is rerouting funds to address security concerns and other priorities.
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