NICIL is incompetent and has cost the Guyanese people billions
Kaieteur News published an article on January 23, 2011 titled “NICIL transfers public property to PM, Queens Atlantic, 28 others.” The article noted “(NICIL) handled an estimated 30 transfers of public properties but no sale prices have been disclosed or monies transferred to Government’s Consolidated Fund.”
This PPP-controlled slush fund that belongs to the people of Guyana sold in 2010 around 30 pieces of property and lands owned by the people of Guyana and did not hand the money over to the nation’s bank account (the Consolidated Fund). NICIL did not disclose how much it charged for these transfers. GUYSUCO transferred 1.327 acres at Tract “B” Plantation Farm East Bank Demerara to Prime Minister Samuel A.A Hinds and Yvonne Z. Hinds jointly.
Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. got 18.871 acres identified as 4702 Plantation Ruimveldt from NICIL. Kaieteur News stated that no known advertisement or tender was provided. Queens Atlantic could verify if there was such an advertisement or tender.
The 2010 NICIL transactions continued. The Government of Guyana transferred 103.88 acres at plot ‘LP’ at Plantation Liliendaal and Pattensen on East Coast Demerara to NICIL. By the end of 2010, NICIL sold that same plot to National Hardware Guyana. National Hardware reportedly paid $600 million for the property at $5,775,895 per acre.
I am going to focus on this transaction to confirm why NICIL should be stopped dead in its tracks, be made accountable to the Guyanese people and to transfer its funds into the nation’s back account (the Consolidated Fund).
One cannot blame the purchaser from profiting from the idiocy of fools disposing of the people of Guyana’s assets/lands and property. One has to blame the government and those within NICIL for allowing this disaster.
Selling what is arguably the prime of prime real estate in Guyana at $5,775,895 per acre is one of the most shocking travesties of the PPP government and its NICIL lapdog. Parliament should investigate this and other transactions for the tragic connotations not only of NICIL’s perversions but also to fend off the international community mistaking Guyana for a giveaway sale.
An acre should deliver 15 large plots for middle class to upper class homes. The almost 104 acres should produce near to 1560 homes. Valuing plots for these homes at $1 million like they are being sold at lesser neighbourhoods to Liliendaal, we are looking at $15 million per acre for the land alone.
Without doing anything but just selling the land in individual plots, National Hardware could make $9,224,105 in profits on each acre. Over the course of 103.88 acres, the profit is a staggering $958,200,027, just shy of a billion dollars. How could a government and its snakeoil sales agency (NICIL) sell national assets at this ridiculous price when the buyer does not even have to do anything but to flip the people’s property to collect almost a billion in pure profits?
NICIL and the PPP’s frightening destruction of our patrimony does not end there. The PPP has built a conference centre, swimming pool and other public infrastructure at Liliendaal. Which government in its right mind sells almost 104 acres of prime land where it has continuously developed public infrastructure?
If Guyana needs a new cultural centre or a museum or a concert hall or a new government business centre in the future, should we be selling off public lands where these places can be ideally located? How foolish is the PPP to sell 104 acres of prime real estate that could be kept for any future public infrastructure that benefits the people? This is high-class backwardness at its best.
Any imbecile knows that maximum value must be obtained for public property. It is the fundamental premise for sale of the nation’s patrimony. A government and any entity selling assets under its guidance (NICIL) must also ensure that the sale of public property benefits as many citizens and bodies as possible unless a single buyer could show an immediate and pressing need for a large purchase of prime state lands such as construction of a structure that utilizes the entire land in the short term and in doing so benefits the public.
To sell massive tracts of state lands to individuals for it to lie idle or for large parts of it to be unused is inimical to the interests of the Guyanese people. It is a nasty farce for the PPP and its unaccountable lackey NICIL to sell off the nation’s assets in this fashion.
The aim of selling state assets to benefit large numbers of citizens would have been better served if NICIL and the PPP sold these lands in smaller tracts to different investors or if it simply created a scheme and sold individual plots to citizens. Making $15 million per acre or more would have created immediate jobs as hundreds of home owners would have hired contractors and builders to commence building their homes.
But this is the PPP and its anti-working class and big business favoritism. This fiasco confirms why NICIL should be immediately brought under public scrutiny and be subjected to an independent forensic audit. The role of any government is to maximise its returns for the people of its country when it is selling their public assets.
NICIL is selling the Guyanese people’s assets but it is not maximising the value to the nation in doing so. To this extent, NICIL has failed Guyana and should be investigated, its funds handed over to the public account and its transactions examined.
That $50 billion it reportedly holds probably should have been $100 billion or more if it made proper and competent decisions, obtained the right value and actively sought to maximise returns for the sale of these assets. We, the people, need to know how much is there in NICIL and how much is lost due to ineptitude, mismanagement, corruption and wrongdoing. It is our goddamn money and it should be in the nation’s public account.