The northern port city of Haiphong is home to 18 industrial zones (IZ) and 26 industrial clusters (IC), attracting 110,000 workers – a number that is expected to further increase to 170,000-200,000 in the coming years and of 40 per cent are expected to be migrant workers.
Haiphong has approved seven projects to build houses for workers, which were invested by enterprises from non-budget capital. The total area covers more than 20.7 hectares, including more than 4,555 apartments. However, only two projects have so far been completed, that is one in Hai Thanh ward, invested by Golden Top Co., Ltd., and another in Dinh Vu IZ invested by Vietnam Petrochemical and Fiber JSC.
|Housing blocks for workers at footwear maker Golden Top Co., Ltd.
The project of Golden Top Co., Ltd has completed the construction of nine two-storey houses, providing accommodation for about 1,000 workers. The project of Vietnam Petrochemical and Fiber JSC has completed phase 1, with a total of 154 unfurnished apartments.
There is a limited supply of housing for workers in Haiphong’s IZs and ICs like in VSIP, Nomura, and Trang Due IZ. Of those three, Nomura IZ has been seeking investment for many years. The 4.5ha area at Trang Due IZ has been approved by the Trade Union’s for an investment of $1.92 million, allocated from the city’s budget, which will be spent on land compensation, site clearance, and construction of technical infrastructure within the area.
At a recent meeting with Haiphong Economic Zones Management Authority, Secretary of Haiphong Party’s Committee Tran Luu Quang emphasised the mission for the management authority to promote the construction of social housing for labourers.
The lack of affordable housing for workers has also brought challenges to pandemic prevention. A high proportion of migrant and suburban workers without stable housing had to lease in the areas around the IZs, a factor that is affecting their living conditions and, vice versa, the IZs human resources stability.
According to the housing development programme in 2020-2030, Haiphong plans to build social housing for workers, using 20 per cent of the land area at IZ.
According to Haiphong Economic Zones Management Authority, in addition to support from state and businesses, it is vital to support and encourage individual households to build, upgrade, and renovate boarding houses.
The investment in housing would need to be carried out with the support from relevant parties, in which the state supports site clearance and infrastructure construction, and encourages to build social housing for lease to workers at IZs.
|Housing project for PVTex’s labourers at Dinh Vu IZ in Haiphong’s Hai An district
Haiphong People's Committee plans to direct investors to implement housing areas for workers at IZs, including accommodation in new construction or factory expansion plans to ensure reaching minimum living area requirements for social housing as prescribed.
According to these plans, it is also important to encourage enterprises to build houses for their workers through preferential policies, such as land rent exemption upon land allocation for building rental housing for workers; tax exemption of housing construction for workers to reduce construction costs; preferential interest rates for enterprises’ loans to build houses for workers; and more.
|According to these plans, it is also important to encourage enterprises to build houses for their workers through preferential policies, such as land rent exemption upon land allocation for building rental housing for workers; tax exemption of housing construction for workers to reduce construction costs; preferential interest rates for enterprises’ loans to build houses for workers; and more.
Haiphong People's Committee has requested the Ministry of Construction to develop policies to allow individual households to invest in building boarding houses for workers on residential land for submission to the prime minister for approval.
According to Nguyen Dinh Tho, director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in order to promote the construction of housing for workers, it is vital to amend and supplement legal policies to require land allocation for qualified housing construction in IZs, export processing zones, and economic zones, while ensuring to fulfil at least 50 per cent of the demand with available technical and social infrastructure.
Pham Hong Diep, chairman at Shinec JSC, the investor of Nam Cau Kien IP said that it is necessary to change the mindset related to building social housing for workers. “It is vital to synchronously amend existing regulations for land fund allocation and consider housing for workers a technical infrastructure. This will help simplify investment procedures and provide available land funds for social housing,” said Diep.
Haiphong City People's Committee assigned the Department of Construction to lead and cooperate with related agencies to research solutions to promote housing constructions for IZ workers according to Document No.3822 /BXD-QLN dated September 17 of the Ministry of Construction.
Accordingly, the Department of Construction shall arrange suitable land in IZ planning, ensuring a speedy construction of housing for workers with associated technical and social infrastructure, along with strengthening the inspection, examination, and supervision to detect law violations in the implementation of social development policies and programmes in Haiphong city.
Haiphong has reportedly appointed two enterprises to implement two social housing construction projects. They are the Construction and Investment Development JSC and Haiphong House Management and Trading Co, Ltd.. The locations to implement these two projects are Cuu Vien Urban Area in Kien An district and the T Cat Bi Urban Area in Hai An district, with the total investment surpassing $1.04 million, providing 900 apartments valued at about $15,200 per unit.