Re-migrants to plug US$50M into housing sector
….100 overseas-based families to pull lots at National Stadium today
By Gary Eleazar
Several hundred persons along with paraphernalia related to the construction industry, last evening created a kaleidoscope on the tarmac of the Guyana National Stadium to launch the third annual International Building Exposition.
The event was declared opened by Head of State, President Donald Ramotar, who delivered his inaugural presentation to a Guyana Building Expo.
The annual event is organized by the Ministry of Housing and Water headed by Minister Irfaan Ali, who announced that Guyana is enjoying such a construction boom that there are currently seven international large scale offers on the table.
One such large scale offer that Ali spoke of relates to a US$500M investment by the Chinese lumber company, Bai Shan Lin.
This year’s Expo has attracted participants from China, India, Suriname, Barbados and Jamaica and the local business community.
One of Minister’s Ali crowning achievements during his tenure would be the establishment of the re-migrant Housing Scheme, which he says will see some 2,700 lots being issued.
Minister Ali announced that today, as the Exposition continues at the National Stadium, some 100 overseas-based families will be on hand to pull a lottery for their house lots in the re-migrant scheme.
Ali told those gathered, inclusive of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of Cabinet, Opposition Members of Parliament and several local business tycoons that in August another 250 house lots will be issued to re-migrants.
According to the Housing Minister who is also performing the duties of Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, in November, another 200 house lots will be issued to re-migrants.
He was adamant that the government will be ensuring the conditions of the applications for the overseas-based Guyanese wherein in the first six months of owning the land, they agree to invest at least US$100,000.
This, according to the Minister, would mean an injection of some US$50M by re-migrants into the local housing sector by the end of the year.
Ali also commended the private sector for its contributions to the sector over the years pointing out that in 2011 some $6B was plugged by the private sector and this is slated to increase this year to $9B.
Ramotar who concluded his inaugural address minutes before the fireworks display, impressed on the gathering, the importance and benefits that go with owning a home.
He reached back to 1992 when his party took office and said that in those days providing housing was more a humanitarian mission.
Ramotar said that in 2012 Guyana’s construction sector has been transformed to the point where it is a key contributor to the economy and he boasted that over the course of the next five years some 30,000 more house lots will be issued to more Guyanese families.
He lambasted the political opposition for what he called a vicious attack on the hard working staff of the Ministry. “Shame on them.”
Ramotar also used the opportunity to extol the virtues of the flagship projects being undertaken namely the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion and the Georgetown Marriott.
He praised the PPP and said it has proved to be working. Ramotar was making reference to Public Private Partnerships (PPP)
Recently elected President of the Private Sector Commission, Yog Mahadeo, was slated on the programme to make a presentation but instead his Deputy, Clinton Urling, the Vice President of the Private Sector Commission as well as President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, replaced him.
Urling also used the opportunity to expound on the virtues of the Building Expo. He commended the Ministry for its stead in building the forum to what it is today.
Urling did use the opportunity to lament the fact that there is a shortage of skilled personnel in the construction sector in Guyana.
The third Annual Building Expo being hosted at the Guyana national Stadium will continue until Sunday evening when the curtains will close on this year’s Building Expo, now a calendar event.