The new econmic team of Prayuth's Government expected that the newly planned low income housing scheme will help boost the economy. Dr.Sopon said this will help bring down the government because of its illogical and unsound rationale.
During the past few months, the new economic team of the government led by Dr.Somkid Jatusripitak tried to push the low income housing scheme with two aspects of anticipation. First the expected to help boost the economy. Second, this would become a masterpiece of The government. However, the aims might not be able to be accomplished. On the contrary, this scheme could be a crux for the government or even help the opposition destroy the government.
This so-called 'kid' scheme of Dr.Somkid has a lot of weakness.
Dr.Sopon pointed out four major groups of hidden beneficiaries of this scheme. First, they were slum landlords who normally have to compensated a lot for slum resettlement. If this scheme were successful to provide housing for slum dwellers. The landlord would earn a lot. It is estimated that slums are situated on some 9,400 rai (1,600 sq.metre) of land. Slum land has limited uses. Therefore, the value might be Baht 5,000,000 per rai and would Become 10,000,000 when slums were resettled. This will help slum landlords earn Baht 56.4 billion (USD 1.6 billion).
The second beneficiaries were those contractors expectedly being the large or international enterprises who had capacity to build a large number of them. Earning of this construction would not be for the labourers nor the economy at large.
The third were those building material enterprises particularly those gigantic cement and steel companies. During the past one year, steel prices were dropped for 16%. This low income housing scheme would help boost the 'economy' of these companies instead of that of the country.
As a lesson, the previous 'Baan Ur-Arthorn' low income housing scheme where Dr.Sopon also pinpointed the crux in 2003 was also a failure. Originally, 1,000,000 units were planned. Then, 600,000 units were confirmed to built. However only, 300,000 units were actually built. Ten of thousands were still unoccupied. A lot of those really staying there were house renters. In many projects, around half of the original buyers moved away after five years.
Dr.Sopon suggested the government to allocate some Baht 3,000 (USD85) per month for the really poor family (if any) to rent a house/room in an open market. This will help boost the petty commodities as well as those SMEs who build cheap living quarters for the poor without any need to build the new ones.
Dr.Sopon also helped offer a few publications fir the government officers to read and comprehend in order to design constructive housing policies as follows:
Worldwide experience confirms that the enabling policy by private initiatives is the must. Government housing production is obsolete and unrealistic.