Five contracts valued at $800M were signed at the Ministry of Housing and Water, Brickdam, yesterday.
Under the Low Income Settlement (LIS) phase 2, the contracts are set to benefit 11,238 persons while making way for 2,741 house lots. This was made possible by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Water.
Some of the areas to benefit from the intervention are, Belle West, Phase 2, West Bank Demerara (WBD), 76 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, phase 2; Onderneeming phase 1, WBD; Recht-Door-Zee, phase 1, WBD, and Block “D” Bath, phase 1, West Coast Berbice.
These projects include the construction of roads, drains, and structure and installation of pure water distribution networks.
The IDB Urban and Development and Housing Specialist, Ophelie Chevalier said the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has been working in a fast manner and a high quality and level of work has been done. According to the housing specialist, the lessons learnt from previous phases of construction, combined with new ideas will further develop the housing sector.
According to the Minister of Housing and Water, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the CH&PA and the IDB have been working collaboratively throughout the construction process.
Adding that it is the first time that the CH&PA has been “implementing a US$ 27.1M project with minimum or no use of consultants”, the Minister said, everything that was done was through institutional strengthening that was received from Low Income Settlement (LIS) 1, “so we would have been saving hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The project has been designed for a life cycle period of five years, however, “we at CH&PA have set a target of trying to complete this project in three years….which will include financial savings on commitment fees.”
Adding that the IDB is working with the Ministry to reach that target, the Minister said the signing of the penultimate batch of projects in terms of infrastructure development shows this, while the Amelia’s Ward phases 2 and 3, Bartica seven and a half miles, and Recht-Door-Zee on the West Bank Demerara are the batches set to be advertised before the end of this year. Ali also disclosed that his Ministry’s expenditure is approximately US$5M for 2010.
Ali noted that contractors will be held accountable for their projects, but most of the contractors have performed well, while some are presently paying liquidated damages.
Parallel development was also cited as a major factor, and according to the Minister, a number of wells have been dug under the LIS 2 programme, including Tuschen, Parfait Harmonie, and Amelia’s Ward, were completed under the offsite investment. In addition, a housing policy will be developed and a consultant is being sourced.
Alli disclosed that the Housing Sector has moved from purely Government-driven to mixed Government/Private, and purely Private housing interventions.
It was also explained that the target this year is to establish 100 “core homes” and that would be at an expenditure of $100M, while the hinterland aspect will receive 50 homes. And the second set of core homes are set to be tendered and ready by the first quarter of 2011. A subsidy programme has been launched for home improvement for poor households in which applicants receive $200,000 per household, for example, for the construction of septic tanks. “Our commitment is by next year to have 17,000 house lots available….we have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars this year….we have already had 2000 house lots allocated this year, our target is 5,000, and we are going to beat that target very easily.” It was also revealed that the building expo highlighted a complete new sector in Guyana,
The Minister disclosed that work should be done in the days and nights, and contractors should make investments in lights. “We are looking forward to more hours, extended shifts on these projects…I am looking forward for all of these projects to be completed before the end of the year…quality must not be compromised, and we are going to hold you (contractors) to the standards and the contract.”
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