Even in the most worrying of economic times, there is one industry which has displayed remarkable resilience over the years. It is none other than Guyana’s Construction and Housing Industry.
Through the good times and the bad, investors and even the government have shown consistent support for this sector which has maintained a steady annual growth rate.
The Construction and Housing sector has been one of the leading sectors in Guyana, particularly over the past three years. It has been providing focus, transforming the landscape across the country while creating employment and stimulating demand throughout the land.
This industry accounts for approximately seven percent of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product since 2008. It is driven by a range of government and privately funded projects.
Strong growth of 6.6 percent was recorded during the first half of the year for 2013 in the construction sector while 2014 saw the industry growing by some 18 percent.
The Construction and Housing Industry in Guyana includes the building of vital infrastructure such as hospitals, roads and bridges as well construction to support the country’s large agricultural and mining industries.
Guyana’s National Development Strategy relies heavily on the construction industry too. There are several professional bodies acting to advance the interests of those in the sector. These include the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers and the Guyana Institute of Architects.
To promote the improvements in this sector, there is usually an annual Building Exposition which is held at the Providence Stadium. The Building and Construction Exposition showcases exhibits from suppliers of hardware and electrical items, contractors, construction and engineering companies, millers and lumber dealers, housing developers and real estate agencies, furniture manufacturers and suppliers, and suppliers of paints and household items, among other items.
The occasion is always a significant one for this sector as it promotes the enhancements in construction. It also serves as a platform for reflection on the move of the previous administration, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic, in regularizing squatting areas and distributing house lots across the country. This has promoted pride in Guyanese ownership and the movement towards building homes for oneself.
In the Construction and Housing sector, several plans are already in the pipeline to help young professionals and remigrants while special incentives from the banking sector have been put in place to help low-income earners. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lent to this category of persons, who need this kind of assistance. This is always promoted at Building Expo.
The Building Expo has been such an attractive feature in promoting the Construction and Housing Industry that it sees participation from international companies out of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, USA, Canada and Barbados.
The former Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, had said that a lot of investments from the public and private sectors are usually channeled into this event.
One of the biggest highlights coming out of the Building Expo series is
“Silica City”, which is the first real initiative to take industry, commerce and residential housing to higher ground. Silica City offers a sustainable and viable solution for the country’s housing needs.
During the event, Regional and International exhibitors participate to provide investment opportunities and creating opportunities for networking between and among local, Regional and international businesses.
Executives of the Private Sector Commission have lauded the importance of the construction industry, and pointed out that there will soon be more ways created to increase home ownership in Guyana.
The Commission has also pointed out that the construction and real estate sectors have had a combined average of 11.3 percent of GDP over the past four years.
The entity has deemed “impressive” the increase in mortgage credit to the private sector, which stands at an annual average of 17 percent, from 27.3 billion Guyana dollars in 2009 to 45.7 billion in 2012 all due to the construction and housing industry.
Because of the intricate link between construction and housing, there have been significant forms of development and projects of that nature. For example, some 5,900 house lots, and processing as well as distribution of 4,100 land titles to new landowners were delivered in 2014.
In 2013, a total of $3.2B was spent to conduct eight One-Stop-Shop outreaches, which contributed to 4,417 lots being allocated and 5,326 titles being processed.
In that year as well, several new housing schemes were developed or consolidated with existing ones, benefitting over 30,000 persons; and through the public-private turnkey housing initiative, more than 90 single-flat concrete houses were constructed, besides the 55 homes completed under the Young Professionals Housing Programme, which surpassed the 48 homes targeted.
In 2013 as well, under the Core House Pilot, 127 core houses were completed, enabling an additional 580 persons to benefit from improved housing; while an additional 153 subsidies were disbursed under the coastal home improvement programme, valued at $30.6M, resulting in improved living conditions for 627 persons.
Also, another 130 hinterland home improvement subsidies, valued at $107.2M, were granted, increasing access to affordable shelter by the most vulnerable communities.
Undoubtedly, Guyana’s construction and housing sector has remained vibrant and has been the springboard all successful projects in this field. It is certainly expected to grow by leaps and bounds for 2016.
The current government and the past have both agreed that as the economy continues growing, more assistance from the Government would become available for Guyanese to continue the construction of their homes too.