Budget measures will boost housing sector – Minister Croal

Minister of Housing and Water, the Hon. Collin Croal, in making his contribution to National 2020 budget debate defended the measures and projects to be implemented in the sector as he deemed the budget as one which will aid the sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

 “Mr. Speaker, I rise to give support and sustenance to the 2020 budget presented by the Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works,” he emphatically stated in his opening remarks. Mr. Croal further emphasised that the national estimates cater to the ordinary man who has weathered the storm and is deserving of a bright future. “The 2020 budget has been crafted to do just that; ensure that every stratum and every sector in our country benefit. This budget provides an economic stimulus for the individual and his community,” he exhorted.

Minister Croal further assured citizens that the budget ensures that measures implemented by his Ministry will see increased spending which will redound positively on the employment rate which in turn will increase income and boost spending. The low-income loan ceiling has moved from $ 8 M to $10 M; this will allow a larger number of people to qualify for loans up to $10 million, giving them the opportunity to improve on the quality of houses built.

The suite of measures as outlined by the Minister includes: improving transportation and water networks, affordability and access to finance, and mortgage relief, among others, all of which will reinvigorate the housing sector.

“Mr. Speaker, these measures will increase the contribution of the housing sector to the Gross Domestic Product, jobs and ease the burden of electricity and water that complements dwelling in new and existing homes. More money in people’s hand and command of more disposable income through adjustment measures for all Guyanese are sure to be directed to their own priorities, one we have seen over the years and most recently to be housing.”

 The Minister reiterated that the government’s housing programme is based on a profound understanding of the needs of our people for housing coupled with years of service to citizens.

Mr. Croal pointed out that President Irfaan Ali once served in a ministerial position within the Ministry of Housing and Water and as such, “will restore the housing programme to satisfy and surpass the expectations all Guyanese.”

The Minister further promised mortgage interest relief for low and middle-income homeowners as well as to increase the limit for low-income loans, and a reversal of VAT on building materials where it was imposed. “These are measures to give increased access and availability to financing for homeownership within the reach of every citizen. It is part of the Government continued drive to increase the disposable income of every household which will increase cash in hand and improve living conditions,” explained Mr. Croal.

Speaking to the Water Sector, the Minister pointed to the former government’s poor administration and mismanagement of the sector. He said that his government will remove the Value Added Taxes (VAT) on the commodity thus allowing more than 170,000 residents to benefit immensely from the service. “Leakages in the system will also be a thing of the past,” assured the Minister. Additionally, pensioners will see the return of subsidy on their water bill. A total of 25,620 pensioners across the country will benefit from free metered water to the value of $227 M. He pointed out that giving Guyana’s expected growth through the oil and gas sector, sanitation and water will play an important role in driving the economy.