2021: a momentous year for Housing and Water development

Thousands of working-class Guyanese are now proud homeowners as a result of the PPP/C Government’s National Housing programme which seeks to address the housing needs of citizens while simultaneously advancing necessary infrastructural development.  

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali at the commissioning of the Mocha to Diamond interlink road

With billions of dollars invested into the sector over the past year, the Ministry of Housing and Water was able to exceed its target of distributing 10,000 house lots by the end of 2021, in keeping with a promised made by His Excellency, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to distribute 50,000 house lots within five years.  This was done through the distribution of house lots and the construction of homes for lower to middle income families, as well as young professionals.

Huge demand – Dream realised 

Because of the huge demand for housing, coupled with a backlog of applications, the government, when it got into office, initiated its signature ‘Dream Realised’ house lot distribution exercise held in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Nine and Ten.

A member of the discipled forces receiving his house lot from Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal M.P. at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence

The distribution exercises were led by subject Ministers Collin Croal, M. P, and Susan Rodrigues, M.P. with support from the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves and other technical staff.

A resident of the Essequibo Coast, Region Two receiving her certificate of title for her land from Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, M.P.

The initiative has given significant impetus to the distribution process, and serves as a vehicle for fast-tracking the processing and distribution of house lots and land titles. It also provides a platform for persons to engage commercial banks on financing options for home ownership.

Construction of homes

In an effort to increase the opportunities for low- and moderate-income households to access the social and economic benefits of homeownership, the CH&PA in 2021, constructed over 550 houses for sale in several housing schemes.

One of the young professional homes in Providence, East Bank Demerara

Over 350 two-story elevated homes are being constructed in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, targeting moderate income households. Similar model homes are also being built in Linden, Region 10.

For the low-income families, 50 low-income homes are under construction in Prospect on the East Bank of Demerara, while an area was identified to commence the construction for another 1000 of these homes in Great Diamond. Contracts were signed for the construction of another 100 homes at Williamsburg, Region Six.

The moderate-income homes in Cummings Lodge

Flat and two-storey young professional homes were also constructed in Providence, East Bank Demerara. A number of these homes were also built in Prospect, East Bank Demerara.

Further, under the Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility programme, 25 core homes are under construction in Lust-en-Rust, Onderneeming, La Parfaite Harmonie, Recht-Door-Zee and Westminster, targeting vulnerable persons.

Infrastructural Development 

With the construction of homes and distribution of house lots, comes the responsibility to create new housing schemes, and expand and upgrade existing ones equipped with amenities such as roads, bridges and drainage.

Infrastructural development works on communities along the East Bank

Last year, the ministry expended over $7.3 Billion for infrastructural works in new housing schemes in Regions Three, Four, Five and Six. Another $2.7 billion was allocated to the ministry in December last year for infrastructural works in new areas, and $2 billion for works in existing schemes.

The construction of the $2.3 Billion Eccles to Mandela Highway is nearing completion, and $13.3 billion in contracts were signed for the commencement of the extended highway from Eccles to Great Diamond.

The $5 Billion Mocha to Diamond interlink road was also completed and commissioned by His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

An area shot of the East Bank Demerara housing development

Further, $51 million was invested in a multipurpose facility in Section ‘C’ Sophia, Greater Georgetown. The project is close to 60 per cent completed.

Lower mortgage rate

The government also implemented several measures to allow prospective beneficiaries to have easy access to loans to build or purchase their homes. These included: 

  • Removal of VAT from construction materials including sand, stone, concrete blocks, and lumber.
  • Low-income threshold raised from $8M to $12M
  • New Building Society’s loan ceiling increased from $12M to $15M
  • Mortgage Interest Relief threshold increased from $15M to $30M

New legislation

The Ministry, through the Attorney General’s Chambers advanced work on the Amendment of Condominium (Regulation and Miscellaneous Provisions). This will pave the way for owners of condominiums and duplexes to access the certificate of titles for their land, insurance and loans.

Squatting

Last year, the ministry regularised over 750 informal settlers residing in Regions Four and Five, while 59 persons squatting on government reserves were relocated. The Guyana Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading and Prevention (GSISUP) was also launched to address and eliminate squatting countrywide.

In keeping with its Manifesto, the PPP/C Government is committed to delivering 50,000 house lots- 10,000 annually to Guyanese within its first term in office.

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