Gov’t transforming lives by improving access to housing, potable water – Min. Rodrigues
Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, while defending the 2023 budget, said this administration is the most consultative and will lead Guyana into the future with clearly defined strategies to ensure the prosperity of all Guyanese.
Speaking on Wednesday in the National Assembly, Minister Rodrigues noted that, to date, no sound arguments have been advanced by the APNU+AFC opposition against this year’s budget.
Minister Rodrigues reminded that under the APNU+AFC’s tenure no housing schemes were developed for Guyanese.
“We are investing in infrastructure aimed at improving lives, not infrastructure like D’Urban Park or arches which are useless and don’t add value to people’s lives. The evidence of our achievements is available for all to see,” the minister highlighted.
Addressing the issues of water and sanitation, the minister referred to the $1.8 billion spent on a chemical to treat water, which was a temporary solution to the water woes faced in various areas in the country.
The minister said on average, it costs $1.2 billion to construct a permanent, large treatment plant that can give treated water to over 1,000 persons.
She noted that since assuming office in August 2020, the government has embarked on a housing programme on a scale never seen before in Guyana.
The minister said all communities are part of Guyana’s transformative development agenda, highlighting there are ongoing infrastructure works in 54 new housing schemes.
“All across this country people will have access to housing. We have increased our housing construction drive so that people can achieve homeownership faster because we are making it more affordable.”
To make homeownership easier for citizens, the government has also established a Home Construction Assistance Programme through financial organisations that will allow persons to access funds to build their homes.
Since banks have significantly lowered their interest rates, many people are benefitting from the favourable investment environment.
The government continues to assist persons who have the means to construct their homes, through the cement and steel subsidy programme, which was launched in July 2022.
Additionally, some 1,355 areas have been regularised.
To date, the ministry has allocated some 20,500 house lots which form part of its manifesto’s promise to allocate 50,000 by 2025.
Minister Rodrigues told the National Assembly, that with a budgetary allocation of $54.4 billion in housing and $17.4 billion for water, the ministry will continue its work which commenced in August 2020, to attain all its objectives in its carefully outlined five-year plan.
In 2022, 14,974 new applications were submitted by young people, which shows tremendous confidence in the housing programme.
Government has also seen tremendous success in the hinterland housing programme which has recorded improved access from 46 per cent in 2020 to 75 per cent by the end of 2022.
“By the end of 2023, after we have executed this budget and implemented the programmes. In this year’s budget, we will be at 85 per cent access across our hinterland communities,” Minister Rodrigues added.