President explains goal behind aggressive housing initiative – at Uitvlugt One Stop Shop
Georgetown, GINA, October 18, 2013
As aspiring homeowners took full advantage of the opportunities provided at today’s One-Stop-Shop exercise at Uitvlugt community centre ground for Zeelugt, Phase 3, President Donald Ramotar elaborated on the ongoing efforts by the Government to improve the quality of life for every Guyanese.
Over 840 house lots were up for distribution, and like several other one stop shops, applicants were given guidance on accessing loans, home furnishing and other services relevant to the homeownership process.
The Head of State witnessed the event and also participated in assisting as applicants randomly picked their numbers to begin the first step in the application process.
“I know for many of you this is a very important day, particularly many of you will have an opportunity to own a piece of land to build your home for the first time,” President Ramotar remarked.
The housing programme spearheaded by the Ministry of Housing and Water has made possible tens of thousands of new house lots developed across the country. Since 2008, thousands of additional lots have been distributed; and hundreds of core houses and dozens of turnkey houses have been constructed
Nine One-Stop-Shop outreaches were conducted last year resulting in 5,869 house lots being allocated. Additionally 4,996 land titles were processed, and 2,577 distributed. Meanwhile 75 core houses were constructed and distributed, bringing the total number of Guyanese benefiting from the pilot to 116 households in Regions 3, 4 and 5.
More importantly the environment has been created that makes it affordable for anyone to own a home. Among them is the exemption from personal income tax for first time home owners paying a housing loan of up to $30M from a commercial bank or building society.
“The Government will not be taking taxes from the interest earned to the bank, of money lent to you. For that reason the bank can give you a lower interest rate,” President Ramotar explained at today’s event.
Last year a significant number of teachers, nurses and police officers received fast track prequalification for loans for home construction and through the Turnkey Housing Initiative, 44 families of Regions 3 and 4 received two-bedroom houses.
Additionally, 112 coastal families benefitted under the home improvement subsidies and 23 hinterland families under the hinterland pilot.
President Ramotar said he empathises with many who face challenges as tenants, but with the aggressive housing drive pioneered under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration, he is hopeful that living under these circumstances will be a thing of the past.
With people at the centre of Guyana’s development, President Ramotar believes that it is important for them to live in a secure comfortable environment. The housing programme is just one aspect of the process.
“We have been investing in things like education, health and more importantly having the security of your own home. We believe that when you have that security of your own home, you have greater peace of mind and you can work and produce more,” President Ramotar said.
The residents were also told of plans early next year to resurface the West Demerara thoroughfare; an intervention that residents have long awaited.