-$655M to expended
THE second batch of projects under the Low Income Settlement (LIS) programme will see some $655M being expended and about 9,500 persons benefiting.
This was disclosed by Minister of Housing and Water, Mr. Irfaan Ali, while giving an update on the second batch of projects to members of the media, last Friday, at his Brickdam office in Georgetown. “As you are aware, early this year we would have awarded a number of contracts under the Low Income One programme. Those contracts, of course, are in the process of execution and most of the projects are ahead of schedule,” he assured.
He said they have had good performance, and all the projects in the existing communities are monitored by local groups and also the ministry’s internal supervision team.
He reminded that the first set of projects would have brought a number of new house lots, including in Region Six (Upper Corentyne/Berbice) and Tuschen in Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara).
“In the second batch of projects, our focus is not only on creating new house lots, but on upgrading existing housing schemes and also providing basic infrastructure in regularised squatting areas,” he underscored.
He said that the second batch of projects focuses on three areas: new areas, existing areas, and regularized squatting areas.
Alluding to projects in new areas, he said that there are two areas that they are developing in Non Pariel on the East Coast of Demerara, one being developed under Government of Guyana which is Non Pariel ‘DD’ located on the highway, and that would create more than 600 house lots.
He said government will be spending almost $180M in that area, and in Section ‘EE’, have already spent more than $200M on the laying of all weather roads and also drains and structure.
He said a contract of $28M would now be for the installation of a pure water distribution system, and that would bring benefit to about 240 lots catering for about 984 persons.
Touching on the existing areas, he said they will be upgrading roads, structures and drains, and the area targeted under the second batch project would include West Minster Phase I, on the West Bank of Demerara, which has a total value of almost $250M and would bring benefit to about 5,000 persons.
“Our focus is not only on house lots and housing schemes in the coastal area, but also in hinterland communities,” Minister Ali pointed out.
To this end, he noted that the second batch of projects would bring investment to Tabatinga Scheme in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) and works include upgrading of roads, drainage, and structures, an investment of almost $118M which will bring benefit to more than 2,200 persons or 532 house lots.
“The Tabatinga community is a new community that is critical in the whole macro development of Lethem. This is one of our large housing schemes there and it is the first settlement basically as you make your way over the bridge (Takutu River Bridge) from the Brazilian side,” he noted.
“So it is very important that that scheme demonstrates the growth of the area,” Ali stressed.
Turning to the third component which is on regularised squatting areas, he said they are focusing here on the upgrading of roads, drainage, and structures in area ‘R’ Ankerville and Block ‘5’ Ankerville, Port Mourant, Berbice, and Eliza and Mary commonly known as ‘Little Africa’ on the Corentyne.
He disclosed that the total investment on the upgrading of infrastructure to these squatter settlements is almost $263M.
“So in this second batch of investment from the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank under the Low Income Two programme, we will have more than $655M being expended, and this would bring benefit to about 2,400 house lots or approximately 9,500 persons,” he revealed.
Also, the minister gave a brief update on the Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority core house pilot project, also a component of the US$27.9M Second LIS programme.
The pilot targets allottees in new and existing schemes, and essentially the programme has budgeted US$2.2M which will be used to construct 400 core houses (starter houses).
“We have advanced tremendously on that. The designs for the core homes have been completed, the area selection and the identification have been completed and these are specifically for the core homes along the coastal belt, in housing schemes in the coastal areas,” he told reporters.
“It is already been advertised for persons to apply to see if they qualify for benefit under this scheme, so we are encouraging persons to ensure that they apply, and that is the only way that you can be eligible for beneficiary analysis and for final selection,” he urged.
He said they are hoping that in another two to three weeks they can also advertise for contractors who would do the construction of the core homes.
“And so by the end of the third quarter, we could have the first set of core homes in some of these housing schemes being completed,” he anticipated.