Coalition’s mass distribution of house lots was an elections gimmick – Min. Rodrigues
The former APNU+AFC Coalition Government which now makes up the Parliamentary Opposition is being called out for its “lazy, haphazard and uninspiring” approach to housing by Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues.
In her maiden presentation to the National Assembly during the ongoing budget debates on Tuesday, Rodrigues claimed that there was a mass distribution of house lots in the lead up to the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
This she said was a mere “political gimmick” and went on to note that in the period following the elections there was “a final grab before the official announcement of their defeat.”
“Their miserable performance in the housing sector is further demonstrated when one examines their allocation record over the five-year period…we will fix that and we have already given instructions to address the applications and allocations system to ensure it is done systematically, fairly, and expeditiously,” Rodrigues told the House.
The Junior Housing Minister told the National Assembly that from January to July 2020 alone, APNU+AFC made 1,987 allocations, representing 99.35% of their target for the year.
But out of those 1,987 allocations, they only processed 251 titles representing 16.5% of their target in that regard.
“You know why? Because these lots were allocated to our people in areas not even under the ownership of CH&PA, a far cry from the promised community experience. This PPP/C administration will rectify that and deliver serviced lots through a comprehensive and coordinated approach between CH&PA and GWI so that Guyanese can live in dignity and not be pumping water from the canal two years after occupying their lots, like the residents in Lust en Rust,” she said.
Speaking to the government’s plan for the housing sector as outlined in the budget and in the PPP’s elections manifesto, Minister Rodrigues reminded of the announcement of free water for pensioners and the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on water and building materials.
Some $1.721 billion is allocated for infrastructure development to make serviced lots available.
Rodrigues explained that this allocation includes monies for the acquisition of lands from state entities as part of the Government’s 50,000 house lots commitment to the electorate.
Another $292.8 million is budgeted to commence preparation of land for residential lots; this amount will be used for the construction of roads and bridges to access lands for the preparation works in Recht-Door-Zee, Block AI Annandale, Cummings Lodge, Industry, Vigilance, Lethem, and Kwakwani among many other locations.
Guyanese can look forward to an aggressive and fair allocation exercise as these lots become available.
Further, $200 million is budgeted for the procurement of electrical line hardware material for installation of electricity in another 16 housing areas, including Cummings Lodge, Annandale, Prospect, No. 79 Skeldon Estate Backland, No. 75 Village, Hampshire and Williamsburg.
The Minister said too that essential to the development of housing schemes, is the adequate supply of potable water, the government has budgeted $80 million for the installation of wells at Lust en Rust and Prospect.