First batch of vouchers for cement and steel subsidy distributed to Region Two residents

The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) conducted an outreach exercise in Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, Region Two, on Friday, where the first batch of 52 residents received vouchers under the Cement and Steel subsidy.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal

Out of the 52 recipients, 26 qualified applicants constructing homes worth $6 million or less received vouchers for one sling of cement and the required steel, while the remaining 26 persons who are spending between $6 million to $25 million received vouchers for two slings of cement.

During the outreach, Housing and Water Minister, Collin Croal announced that the initiative will inject approximately $15 million into the local economy.

Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal hands over the voucher to a beneficiary

He emphasised that the programme , which was initiated by President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, aims to fast track and cushion infrastructure costs for homebuilders.

“So, by the time we are finished in March, it is expected we will have close to 500 beneficiaries across the coastal region,”he said.

Minister Croal spoke about the housing developments in the region and highlighted the steps taken to address the backlog.

CHPA’s CEO, Sherwyn Greaves hands over the voucher to a beneficiary

He explained that the ministry has developed two new housing areas at Buxton and St. Joseph in Charity and has allocated approximately 500 house lots. Additionally, 500 lots have been allocated in Onderneeming, bringing the total to 1,000 house lots distributed since August 2020.

“And with that brings the necessity for infrastructure. And so, we are talking about $690 million investment for infrastructure, which means opening up the road, creating new access because you know, that area how it was, the difficulty in the Charity area in terms of flooding,” the minister stated.

CHPA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sherwyn Greaves acknowledged the banking sector’s efforts to reduce interest rates and make loans more accessible.

He also noted that the government recognises the challenge of the initial investment, which can be as high as five- ten per cent of the total loan cost, and has designed a programme to assist persons with the commencement of the construction of their homes.

Seventy-one-year-old Mithlawdavie Ishwarlall, who received a voucher for steel and a sling of cement, expressed her gratitude to the government for the initiative. She stated that this would give her a head start in constructing her home.

“I live with my sister in a small room and I’m glad to get some help to move from there,” she told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Ishwarlall said she will be seeking further assistance for the construction of her home shortly.

Andrew Rowe, a recipient of a voucher for two slings of cement, also commended the initiative. He received the land four years ago and was delighted that he could finally begin building a home for his family.

Royan Lalchand expressed, “I am happy that I received this today, and now I can finally make a start.”

Last month, the ministry officially launched the $800 million Steel and Cement Subsidy Initiative for homebuilders at its Brickdam Office. Over 1,000 applications were received and are going through a verification process.