Housing Sector ‘revitalized’; gov’t on clear path to deliver affordable homes – Minister Rodrigues

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Guyana’s once “lethargic” housing sector is now “rejuvenated” and will continue to grow with the measures outlined in the 2022 National Budget.

This was the position proffered by the Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues during Day Four of the budget debates in the National Assembly on Thursday evening.

In defending the $552.9 billion budget, of which $12.4 billion was allocated to housing, the Minister noted that the government has already distributed more than 10,000 house lots since taking office in August 2020. Out of that number, over 3,000 were women and this was after meeting a backlog of over 70,000 applications, the Minister stated.

“There is enthusiasm and anticipation especially among our young applicants since there is clear and undeniable progress from the government in delivering affordable housing to our people,” she said.

According to the Minister, Guyana’s housing sector created spin-off benefits as seen in the growth of the construction and manufacturing sectors last year. And these are only set to increase in 2022.

“The $5 billion increase in real estate loans issued by commercial banks is directly correlated to our policy increase in mortgage ceilings and mortgage interest relief.

“These direct results are because of careful state planning and prudent management of the economy,” she added.

Her predecessor from the opposing side, Annette Ferguson however, said that no clear “vision” was outlined for the housing sector. But her statement was rebuffed by Rodrigues who said the plan is to ensure that citizens are able to access their homes.

Ferguson spoke to this in her presentation and claimed there are reports of allottees receiving their allocation letters but not being able to move in some months after.

But the slow occupancy, according to the housing minister, was due to the underdeveloped housing schemes that were created prior to 2020.

“People cannot access them…even if they can identify their lands, there is no drainage network, there was no water, no electricity so that led to the slow occupancy,” she explained.

And this is exactly what the budget is set to address, the Minister said. She outlined that the $12.4 billion allocated is set to be used to continue infrastructure works in housing developing areas and includes upgrading of 45.5 km of roads in 31 existing housing schemes in six of the 10 administrative regions.

Added to that, the sum will be used for the construction of drains, structures and the installation of LED street lamps in the various housing settlements.

“Our competence, capability, experience and track record on implementation and execution should bring comfort and assure all Guyanese that the plans, programs, policies and projects contained in budget 2022 are achievable and will be achieved,” the Minister concluded.

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