–funds to cover major infrastructural works at Charity, Onderneeming
BEING cognisant that access to adequate and affordable housing is the cornerstone of economic development, the government plans to invest some $3.2 billion to install the necessary infrastructure for housing at Charity and Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
Access to adequate housing is viewed as a basic human right, and considered to be an integral factor for the enjoyment of other economic, social and cultural privileges. And, with Guyana’s economy poised to quadruple in the coming years, the government has started creating the conditions for Guyanese, especially from the low and middle-income brackets, to have access to adequate housing.
Investments, in this regard, have been widespread, as evidenced by the Ministry of Housing and Water’s plan to invest in the development of new housing schemes in the Cinderella County, Essequibo.
Based on a document seen by the Guyana Chronicle, the ministry’s plan is to expend some $3,280,000,000 on infrastructure which would facilitate housing at St. Joseph and Buxton in Charity; Charity squatting area, and at Onderneeming.
Specifically, the ministry plans to spend approximately $872,000,000 to construct access bridges, unsurfaced bridges, pipe networks, drains and culverts at Buxton and St. Joseph. Additionally, $628,000,000 will be spent to install similar infrastructure at the Charity squatting area.
Also, of the proposed $3.2 billion, $1,780,000,000 will be spent to construct reinforced concrete roads, drains and culverts, pipe networks and access bridges. The planned infrastructure work would complement the land allocation exercise which has already started in Essequibo, where some 700 house lots have already been distributed.
Nationally, the government is aiming to allocate 10,000 house lots and distribute 7,000 land titles across the country in 2021. And to execute this objective, billions of dollars have been allocated to the Ministry of Housing for the further advance of infrastructure and utility works in new and existing housing areas.
In March, it was reported that some $13.9 billion were allocated for the development of new infrastructure, and the construction of houses, a project that will benefit over 8,000 families.
In a disaggregation of the government’s investment in the housing sector, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, said some $12 billion will go towards new infrastructural works, while $1.8 billion will be utilised for the construction of houses.
Those funds are being channelled directly through 199 contracts, which were awarded officially to contractors.
Some 51 contractors received their contracts to start the infrastructure works and the construction of 290 houses, 119 of which will be built in Cummings Lodge, on the East Coast Demerara (ECD), while 100 will be constructed at Prospect, on the East Bank Demerara (EBD).
“The beneficiaries of the entire investment would be allottees from low, middle, moderate and high-income brackets,” Minister Croal said.
In his estimation, Guyanese stand to benefit more in this year alone than they did during the tenure of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)’s coalition administration.
This investment, however, is just the tip of the iceberg, as the government’s overarching plan over the next five years is to make 50,000 allocations, which include house lots and houses. And, just as the government is committed to making this promise a reality, Croal challenged the contractors to do their part by producing quality and timely work.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, had also urged the contractors to produce quality work, since it is the quality of their work that would determine whether they progress from small to medium and large-scale projects.
“I urge you to be diligent in implementing this work. We must not have to chase contractors down to complete work; it is also your responsibility to ensure that contracts are in line with specifications,’’ Dr. Singh said.
The expectation of the government is for there to be immediate mobilisation of resources, and the commencement of the critical works.
In executing the work, contractors will not only be contributing to the development of new and ‘beautiful’ housing schemes, but also to wider economic advancement through job creation and increased spending.