Change Guyana wants to open Agri. bank, housing corporation
Change Guyana, led by businessman Robert Badal, has revealed plans to reopen an Agricultural Development Bank and establish a housing corporation to manage the sale and allocation of house lots if they win the next general and regional elections.
At the party’s weekly press conference Tuesday, the Presidential Candidate said the need for an Agricultural Development Bank was highlighted by farmers during a recent visit to Essequibo.
“This was one of the measures the farmers are asking for because they are paying 12-20% at the bank. This is untenable…you’re transferring farm income to big banks. That will stop,” Badal said.
He explained that the bank will stimulate investments and create jobs in the agriculture sector.
“Such a bank would be managed on the basis of private-sector efficiency and prudence. Equity will be extended to farmers and small business holders. So they’re the beneficiary –they support the bank, they get dividend –it’s a cycle of money returning to those for whom it is intended,” he told reporters.
There was once the Guyana Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank (GAIBANK), however, it was closed in the early 1990s.
Currently, the Government has the Small Business Bureau (SBB) and the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) Programme which offers grants to small businesses.
Meanwhile, Change Guyana is also looking to establish a Housing Development Corporation which will be managed by private sector principles.
The corporation will take over the functions of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).
“This company which will report to Parliament will give complete homes and communities instead of house lots,” Badal told reporters.
“This one statutory private sector-oriented company will handle housing development, not giving house lots [but] a holistic professional approach to the management of housing.
“It will be professionally run based on private-sector principles of planning and execution to build competitively priced low and middle houses,” he added.
According to Badal, the corporation will prioritise teachers, nurses and police officers among other public sector workers.
He touted the establishment of Mini Power Grid based on renewables to provide low-cost electricity to the new residential areas.