This was part of efforts to cater to workers with housing and other much-needed social infrastructures in industrial clusters across Vietnam, provided for in a Government-approved project ‘Investment into construction of workers’ in industrial and manufacturing zones.
There are currently 334 industrial parks and manufacturing zones nationwide, employing about 2.7 million workers. However, according to a survey by VGCL in 2016, at least 1.2 million workers need a stable home and 1.4 million want supermarkets, kindergartens or recreation centres close to work.
A year after the project was approved, the VGCL has identified 20 viable areas in 20 provinces and cities, with each land plot averaging at 35ha and all land clearance costs to be borne by local governments.
The VCGL said it is working with the remaining 30 provinces and cities to secure land soon.
For 2018-23, with VND11 trillion (US$471.8 million), VGCL intends to finish the construction of least 50 workers’ complexes – each comprising of 1,000 apartment units (30-45sq.m each) and facilities, including green spaces, 500-seat cultural centres, central squares, kindergartens, malls, pharmacies and other services.
Proper living spaces help ensure public order and stimulate production and consumption in the locality, as well as reduce entice workers to stay in their jobs.
Tran Van Khai, head of the project’s management board, said the labour federation is also making arrangements with four State banks, where workers can get loans to buy apartments with interest rates as low as 7-7.5% for a 20-year period.
It is estimated a worker could pay full price of a VND150 million apartment in 7-8 years if they pay VND1.5-1.8 million a month.
The labour confederation representative also promised that purchase procedures would not be much of a hassle, with information easily accessible for workers.
The confederation said it would also work with local governments to stop profiteering, given how the project apartment’s prices are “just one third” of the market average.
Binh Duong province, the northern neighbour of Ho Chi Minh City and home to a robust manufacturing industry, was one of the pioneering localities in building low-cost living spaces for workers arriving in the province from across the country.
Ample urban land and tax cuts and other incentives for affordable housing investors are prime reasons that help drive down the costs of mass-produced apartments with total floor area of 30s.q in Binh Duong.
Many have expressed concerns that despite the policies and political commitment, affordable apartments would fail to attract workers without carefully studied planning, evidenced by some of housing projects for students and workers in Hanoi.