In an emailed reply to Muscat Daily, the ministry stated, “The residential application is available and any citizen is eligible according to the terms and conditions. Applications are increasing continuously and the number of registered applications in Muscat governorate according to the latest statistics reached 174,421. Due to lack of residential schemes, the distribution of land decreased and resulted in the accumulation of applications.”
An official with the Ministry of Housing said, “A plot shall be granted when and wherever it is available in each governorate or region and as per the housing schemes and priority of request. In order to distribute land, first step is to announce a land scheme. Lack of residential schemes is due to shortage of plots.”
As for the registration of application and granting lands the ministry follows a specific mechanism issued by Royal Decrees and Ministerial Decisions regulating lands, which the Directorate General of Housing in Muscat should implement.
As per the rules of the Ministry of Housing, plots are allocated to an individual. There can be many applicants from the same family at times. Plots are given to both female and male members.
As per the land allotment rule, a person has to be 23 years and above to be eligible to get a land.
“The ministry allots a total of 600sq m to each individual. At times, it is more than this. Land is allocated for free to individuals who do not earn anything or earn less than RO300 a month. “Those who earn more than RO300 are allotted land against a payment of RO1 per square metre. So a 600sq m of land costs RO600. They are also given a loan without interest for the same.”
As per the Annual Statistics Report issued by the Ministry of Housing a total of 182,339 plots were distributed across the sultanate during the period 2013-17 for different uses. Of these, 163,191 plots (89.5 per cent) were for residential purposes. In Muscat, 11,712 plots were distributed between 2013 and 2017 for government, tourism, agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential, residential/commercial use amongst others.
In 2017, the ministry distributed 36,249 plots for different uses, including 30,995 for residential plots, making up 85.5 per cent of the total. In 2017 in Muscat, 3,609 plots were distributed by the ministry for different uses.