By Navendra Seoraj
CREATING adequate housing for Guyanese is high on the agenda of the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government, which is seeking US$250 million (approximately G$52.5 billion) in financing to support its housing development plans for the next five years.
Access to adequate housing is viewed as a basic human right and is considered to be an integral factor for the enjoyment of other economic, social and cultural rights.
And, with Guyana’s economy poised to quadruple in the coming years, Government will be moving to ensure that its people, especially from the low and middle income brackets, have access to adequate housing.
It is for this reason that Government is looking to acquire US$250 million in financing for its housing drive and is already seeking expressions of interest.
“These funds will go directly to our housing drive…we are raising more money, but that specific amount is related to housing,” said Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, in an invited comment on Wednesday.
The PPP/C, while in opposition, had committed to distributing 50,000 house lots, a promise which they reiterated after being elected to office in August.
“We committed to 50,000 house lots, and roughly about 30 per cent (15,000) of that we would like to build homes… so we are looking for funding for the infrastructural works, land clearing, construction of access bridges and roads to those areas… as well as public/private partnerships for the construction of homes for all income brackets,” said Minister Rodrigues.
Housing units will eventually be constructed across all administrative regions, said the minister, adding that authorities are in the process of identifying and acquiring land.
Specific areas cannot be identified at this time because the Ministry of Housing and Water is still engaging the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on the acquisition of land.
Government has allocated $1.7 billion for infrastructural development to make serviced lots available, and this allocation includes funds for the acquisition of lands from the NICIL, GuySuCo and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC).
Additionally, $292.8 million has been budgeted for the preparation of land for residential lots. This allocation will be used for the construction of roads and bridges to access lands for preparatory work in Recht-Door-Zee, Block AI Annandale, Cummings Lodge, Industry, Vigilance, Lethem and Kwakwani, among many other locations.
Work will also be completed on the upgrading of 4km of main access roads, and bridges to industrial and commercial areas in Prospect, Perseverance, Little and Great Diamond; $150 million is allocated for these projects.
The upgrading of the main access road and bridges for private developers in Prospect and Perseverance will allow for access and commencement of work on approximately 500 house lots, while the upgrading of the main access road for industrial and commercial purposes in Little and Great Diamond will allow for access and commencement of work on a further 300 house lots.
“So, Guyanese can look forward to an aggressive and fair allocation exercise as these lots become available,” Minister Rodrigues said.
The Ministry of Housing will be hosting a two-day housing drive on Friday and Saturday at the National Stadium at Providence to assist persons with land applications and queries persons may have about the process.
In addition to housing services, the event will also have representatives from the Guyana Water Inc, the commercial banks, insurance companies and a number of internet providers.