No more jumping of the line – Housing Minister promises fair & transparent process

—holistic approach key for developing sector

—lending rates with Banking Association being discussed

—strict no new squatting policy

Minister of Housing and Water, Hon. Collin Croal, has stated that the objective of his Ministry is to apply a holistic approach to improve the housing sector.

“For us, the mandate at the Ministry of Housing is not just about sharing an allocation or a lot, it’s about having a hybrid system,” Minister Croal said during an appearance on Kaieteur Radio Friday last.

Minister Croal continued “you can have [house] lots or you can have housing…it is also important that you have the road, the bridges, the water and electricity”.

Speaking on the issue of the backlog of 68,000 housing applications, he noted that under the previous government, several new applications were allowed to supersede those already in the system, including Government Ministers, who were already landowners.

Moreover, the Ministry recently halted the collection of fees, pending investigations, after discovering deficiencies in land allocations, pre-elections and as recent as 1 August, 2020.

After the completion of this process, the Minister assured that there will be a more transparent allocation process.

“When we’re finished with the current exercise; when we re-issue our policy for the allocation of house lots, you must be able to have a fair transparent process and to recognise the persons who have been waiting long in the cue.” Minister Croal said.

It was also disclosed that the Ministry of Housing and Water will also be embarking on partnerships with the private sector to expand and further develop the housing sector and to secure capital for investments.

A meeting with the Banking Association is expected to take place this week to discuss lending rates and incentives, to encourage persons to occupy properties.

A cross-sector meeting was also slated to push discussions for land acquisitions, with National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Land and Surveys Commission (GLSC). Guyana Sugar Corporation Incorporated (GuySuCo) is also expected to be a part of cross-sector meetings, as the Government aims to reopen a number of sugar estates.

It was also reiterated that there will be a strict zero-tolerance policy against new squatting under the PPP/C Administration. The Minister stated that the “aggressive drive that the PPP has for housing will allow everyone to have a unit at the appropriate time.”

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