Up to 90 per cent of Bahraini families pay subsidised instalments for government social homes.The Cabinet told MPs in a written explanation to proposed amendments to the 1976 Housing Law for interest-free services that between 10pc and 15pc of beneficiaries pay the full amount of the housing unit.However, between 85pc and 90pc don’t cover the actual market price tag of the home provided by the Housing and Urban Planning Ministry.

The government is urging new MPs who will be in their seats in Parliament by the end of the year to throw out the amendments.The current MPs also want the government to drop the 3pc administrative charge taken when families apply for the service.“Up to 90pc of families, actually between 85pc to 90pc, don’t pay the actual cost of the unit with us setting monthly instalments not exceeding 25pc of the monthly income,” said the Cabinet.“So only 10pc to 15pc of the families pay the full cost, depending on exceptional agreements that include higher guarantees or insurance,” it added.

“The 3pc administrative fees that MPs want to drop is less than the real cost of paperwork that is between 4.5pc and 7pc of the value of the property given out.“The fee is absorbed as part of the instalments and payment charts clearly indicate that the government is keen on giving the service rather than profiteering as we handle the difference as a social commitment.”It further explained that the administrative fees are not considered interest.

“We follow and adhere to proper Sharia standards and are being monitored and supervised in our deals by Islamic banking institutions and banks,” said the Cabinet.“There are multiple Sharia certifications showing that the ministry doesn’t take interest and fees are considered as profit although as clearly stated the actual service is lower than market price.”The government added that the variance in payments for the housing services is due to monthly income, which is different from one household to another.“We don’t operate as a bank in which loans are given according to different rates, we just calculate monthly instalments based on monthly income.”New financing schemes for government housing include raising the loan ceiling to a maximum of BD70,000 while also increasing the age of beneficiaries from the current 35 to 40.

Submission of new requests for government housing also includes the option of raising the deduction ceiling to up to 35pc of the salary.Around 500 more citizens are set to benefit this year from additional options added to the Mazaya Financing Scheme, it has emerged.

Details of the progamme – Tas’heel – were announced last month by the Housing and Urban Planning Ministry and Eskan Bank.According to Housing and Urban Planning Minister Amna Al Romaihi, the initiatives aim to formulate innovative solutions in partnership with the private sector to accelerate the pace of achievement.

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