Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has created a new Housing Ministry and appointed Shuwaish al-Duwaihi as minister, as part of the kingdom’s attempts to solve its housing shortage.

Al-Duwaihi is currently governor of the General Housing Corporation (GHA), which was created in 2007 to increase the level of home ownership and develop more housing supply.

The Housing Ministry will take on the responsibilities of the GHA, and all other government departments related to housing. It will also have control over all land used for housing in the kingdom.

“All jobs and officials working in the housing sector have been transferred to the Ministry of Housing. All financial allocations and properties related to housing are also transferred to the ministry. These include all documents and plans of existing and future projects and contracts,” the royal decree establishing the ministry said.

The move follows King Abdullah’s announcement earlier in March that SR25bn would be allocated to the GHA for the construction of 500,000 new homes.