Jul 29, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Former Minister with responsibility for the Housing and Water Sectors, Annette Ferguson, has signalled an intention to grill substantive Minister, Collin Croal, over the award of more than 200 contracts totalling some $13.9B.
The move by the parliamentary opposition is documented in the Order Paper for the next sitting of the National Assembly set for August 3.
According to the agenda, Ferguson will be utilising the opportunity at the next sitting to enquire of the Minister firstly when these works are expected to commence. Additionally, Ferguson is looking to have the House be informed as to the number of Units to be constructed in Regions Three to Six. This, in addition to providing the House with detailed locations, along with a breakdown of what it will cost the government to construction each unit.
Ferguson has premised her line of questioning for the Minister in light of public reports by the Department of Public Information, dated March 16, 2021, captioned, ‘The Central Housing and Planning Authority has awarded some $13.9 Billion in contracts to start infrastructural works and construction of housing units in Regions Three, Four, Five and Six.’Additionally, the former Minister is looking to have Minister Croal provide a breakdown in the categories of allottees who are expected to be beneficiaries from the construction of housing units, “for example, low-income, middle income, etc.”
The former Minister is also expected to query “what is the expected cost or final cost beneficiaries will pay for each category of the housing units.”
As it relates specifically to the 199 contracts that were signed by the Ministry for which the Minister is being made to answer, Ferguson has signalled the intention to enquire into the procurement process utilised.Also slated for scrutiny are the due diligence process undertaken along with a disaggregation in works between infrastructure and the housing units, and the list of contractors that were awarded contracts for the construction of the Housing Units as against those who were awarded contracts for Infrastructural Development.
The Ministry in March had signed close to 200 contracts totalling US$70 million (G$13.9 billion) for housing development, forging ahead with its promise to provide 50,000 house lots for Guyanese. With those deals signed, contractors are expected to commence infrastructural works and construction of houses in areas countrywide, including Cummings Lodge, Prospect and Great Diamond.
Minister Croal had at that time pointed out that the number of contractors carrying out works would also include 26 new ones in the system. He pointed out as well, that it was expected that works totalling $4 billion would be carried out by June 2021 while another $6 billion is expected to be completed in the last half of this year. “We live in a society where the quality of housing is important,” Croal said in later remarks as he pointed to the spin off effects of the measures taken in totality.
He pointed out as an example, that with the 200 contracts, it would also mean increased employment, which would in turn lead to increased demand for varying goods and services.
This past week, scores of persons were awarded low income house lots through government’s “Dream Realised” initiative, which is intended to sure that 1,000 low income house lots are distributed.
Those lots are being allocated from Block 18, Plantation Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD), and are said to be tailored to specifically target low-income earners.
Junior Housing Minister, Susan Rodrigues, on Monday said that the low-income bracket is as important as those in the higher brackets when it comes to accessing house lots, adding that the Ministry will continue to ensure that they are benefitting. She explained that 75 percent of the allotees are from the low-income bracket.
“Sometimes the low-income earners tend to be forgotten but today’s activity; today’s allocation exercise is solely for the purpose of low-income earners, for the households that need it the most. Your Government is here to support you. We can think of no better use for the land that we have made available,” she said.
Rodrigues said the one-year anniversary of the People’s Progressive Party government is rapidly approaching and it is well within its promises of ensuring that 50,000 house lots are allocated during its five-year term.
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