Planning Minister: Flats to Urbanco staff ‘not an issue’ if criteria met

Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam responds to questions at the Parliament on April 26, 2023. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam states he does not see companies awarding apartments from housing projects they run to their own staff to be an issue as long as the staff meet the Planning Ministry’s eligibility criteria for social housing projects.

Aslam’s remark comes after a list recently surfaced on social media, which allegedly shows top officials from Urbanco who received apartments from commercial housing projects run in Hulhumale’.

According to the post, 34 apartments in mixed-residential housing projects underway in Hulhumale’ have been reserved for 34 people in top positions within Urbanco.

The allegation is denied by Urbanco.

Aslam was questioned about the allegation by Central Maafannu MP Ibrahim Rasheed (Bonde) during the parliamentary sitting Wednesday morning.

Aslam said the Planning Ministry has set the criteria and points system for award of units from social housing projects. He said the government has been attaching the points standard to announcements.

He said Urbanco itself has been instructed to enforce the standard.

“We have also told HDC (Urbanco) that flats must be issued based on the policy. That even if it is the staff of the company that is conducting the project, they must fit the criteria. I don’t have a problem with reserving some units for the company’s staff. But they must meet the criteria,” he said.

Aslam said that social housing must go to people who fit the social category, and that a flat mustn’t be issued to someone who already has a flat.

He said the Planning Ministry will investigate any violations.

In a statement after the list surfaced on social media, Urbanco said projects in Hulhumale’ are designed with maximum transparency. And that the company conducts regular internal audits on projects.