OPEC member Iraq is planning to offer projects involving the construction of new residential cities to investors as part of an ongoing post-war scheme to tackle a festering housing crisis, an official said in press comments on Thursday.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has also chalked out a plan to revive projects that have been stalled over the past years due to cash shortages and other reasons, NIC's chairperson Suha Al-Najjar said.

She told the official daily Alsabah that residential cities would be build in most governorates and would be identical to the "Bismaya City" which involves the construction of nearly 100,000 houses.

Iraq awarded the $7.7-billion Bismaya contract to South Korea's Hanwha Company in May 2012 and it was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. Located nearly 10 km Southeast the capital Baghdad, Bismaya will accommodate nearly 600,000 people.

"Starting in 2021, we intend to invite investors to build residential cities similar to Bismaya in various governorates in Iraq...we are working to identify sites and obtain land for the projects, some of which will be offered in the first quarter," Najjar said.

Turning to stalled projects, which are worth $billions, she said NIC has just devised a plan to restart most of them mainly those which were offered as investment.

Najjar said some of those projects have never been started while others have been partly executed before they were halted due to financial and security reasons.

"We intend to revive most of those projects depending on reasons why they stopped...we will begin with projects which have zero execution rate," she added.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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