— 350 land titles distributed in ‘Dream Realised Housing Drive’
— 2,600 more in the next few days; 25, 000 homes to be built
GOVERNMENT will, in another few days, distribute more than 2,600 land titles countrywide, as part of a wider goal to build 25,000 homes and create 50,000 house lots within the next five years.
This was revealed by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, during his feature address at the Housing and Water Ministry’s “Dream Realised Housing Drive 2020”, at Providence National Stadium on Friday.
The President handed out five of the 350 titles and transports processed by the Housing Ministry. The two-day housing drive continues today from 09:00hrs –15:00hrs.
Representatives from Republic Bank, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, New Building Society and Bank of Baroda will be present as well as Internet and insurance companies.
“My greatest visions is to see us all united, for us to see each other as Guyanese, for us to love each other as Guyanese, for us to protect each other as Guyanese, that is my greatest dream for Guyana, in achieving all of this one may ask where is the capital coming from,” he said.
Government is seeking to raise US$250m ($50b) to support its housing development plans and is seeking Expressions of Interest (EoIs).
“The response has been nothing but overwhelming. We have already engaged at the bilateral, multilateral and regional levels, many agencies. Every single Head of State I spoke to so far has outlined housing as a top priority and asked that financing of the housing programme be taken into consideration of their development plan,” the President said.
Guyana is poised to quadruple its GDP in the upcoming years as proceeds pour in from the oil and gas sector. The Government intends to use some of this money to transform the infrastructural landscape of Guyana by undertaking major urban development projects.
According to the President, resources will also be accessed from the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
Ali, a former housing minister, said his vision is to create opportunities for home ownership that brings communities together and create an environment for unity, prosperity and progress.
Housing, he said is not only about the development of house lots but also about empowerment of families and provision of opportunities for them to grow and prosper.
“Today, we are talking about making dreams a reality and dreams without action remain a dream. You can have the greatest dream but if you don’t take action on that dream it remains a dream,” he said.
The Government’s vision is to deliver 50,000 house lots to Guyanese. It will uplift the lives of all citizens, the President told the Providence Stadium on Friday.
Government is looking at sustainable housing programmes that will create jobs, greater demands for services, areas for growth and avenues for affordable housing.
Underscoring the importance of Government embracing programmes with the private sector, Dr. Ali said this creates an enabling environment with the right set of incentives that will address the issue of affordability.
He emphasised that there is nothing more empowering than owning a home and said everyone wants to turn his/her own keys; especially the youths and Government will create a network of infrastructure that will link growth and development.
The President said partnerships will be created with the understanding that companies have a social responsibility since any partnership with Government will not be driven exclusively on the profit margin.
“When we give incentives, we expect that the people must get the translated benefits of those incentives and we will ensure that they get the benefits and we want to partner with the private sector,” the President said.
He said Government will bring together the hardware stores, banks, builders, contractors, developers and other stakeholders to achieve an economy of scale.
“If we give the banks a ready market of 25,000 homes, it is reducing their marketing costs to go after customers and reducing many other costs even the operational costs become less; although you are processing more your operational cost will go down; these are the type of intangible benefits of a comprehensive housing system,” President Ali said.
He said the diaspora will be engaged, not only in home ownership but to become a part of the programme and be associated with housing development and in providing financial resources.
“There is great potential in creating a diaspora fund that can be utilised in a sector like the housing sector and this is also under consideration,” he said.
Adding that this will create new access for capital, the President said housing is not only about house lot and homes as a comprehensive set of policies has to be developed.
There is also a large Guyanese migrant population in Venezuela who are resettling in Guyana and they are a new target group being looked at.
Meanwhile, the President said the focus for the hinterland will be subsidised housing and this is not about creating homes but is linked to job creation, better services, power, water and community life.
“By January next year we are hoping to have at least 30,000 home solar units to go to the hinterland communities,” he said.
Additionally, the new Demerara Harbour Bridge that will be built will reduce travelling time by 75 per cent among other benefits.
“You will see a marked bridging of the gap in land value because there will be greater connectivity, and that would lead to the creation of new housing developments,” he said.
This, he said will be linked to the four-lane from the bridge all the way to Parika opening up thousands of acres of lands.
“The opening up of these lands and the building of infrastructure would bring you into Georgetown within the timeframe of 25-30 minutes,” he said.
Government, he said will also launch a new area of development that will benefit from special incentives and tax regime to motivate investors in manufacturing and industrial development.
“We are looking at the zoning of activities. We have to learn from experiences, we can’t have harmful waste and harmful chemicals stored in a concentrated area so we would have to look at where will be the new zones, and these type of activities will drive the new economic revolution that will create sustainable housing and sustainable jobs,” the President said.
West Bank of Demerara will see massive housing development. Meanwhile, the Ogle, East Coast Demerara to Timehri, East Bank Demerara road bypass will commence shortly. Different phases, he said will lead to different destinations where new areas of growth will be available.
Government, Dr. Ali said will work to build housing for young professional — nurses, Joint Services ranks, clerical workers and teachers – and the religious community will play a part in the housing development.
“We will work with the religious stakeholders because they have an important role in creating homes and they have to be part of the overall vision,” Dr. Ali said.
Farmers, he said will also benefit from housing and grants to develop their farmlands.