Aug 04, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Housing and Water earlier this year inked some US$13.9M in contracts to provide for, among other infrastructure works, the construction of a number of housing units across the low, moderate and middle to high-income brackets.
But the expenditure has since attracted queries in the National Assembly, which have now revealed that the Ministry is in fact constructing homes to be resold for profit.
In response to queries raised yesterday by Shadow Minister, Annette Ferguson, during a sitting of the House, Housing Minister, Colin Croal, disclosed that the Ministry is aiming to construct some 2,000 homes across Regions Three, Four and Six.
To this end, the Minister indicated that while the estimated cost for the construction of the low income homes are pegged at $5.2M each, they are earmarked to be sold to citizens falling in the low-income bracket for $5.5M.
As it relates to the moderate income earners, the Minister indicated that these homes would cost some $7.2M and these would be resold at $7.5M.
Persons falling in the middle and high income brackets, will be able to purchase the completed units for between $14M and $19.5M while being constructed at costs ranging between $13M and $18M.
Construction, according to Minister Croal, commenced back in April 2021 with the contracts having been signed a month earlier.
It was noted that for Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) some 500 units would be constructed at Edinburg, Anna Catherina, Stewartville and Meten-Meer-Zorg.
Another 500 units will also be constructed in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) at Hampshire, Ordinance Fortlands and Williamsburg.
As it relates to Region Four, Minister Croal disclosed that 5,000 units will be constructed across Grove, Great Diamond, Little Diamond, Prospect, Providence, Cummings Lodge and La Bonne Intention (LBI.)
As it relates to the process used with regards the procurement of contractors for the 199 contracts that had been inked, Minister Croal in responding to his Shadow Opposition Member, disclosed that this was done through a national competitive bidding process by public tender.
Ferguson had tabled the slew of questions for Croal on the official order paper of the National Assembly for yesterday’s sitting seeking to have the House be informed as to the number of units to be constructed in Regions Three to Six, in addition to providing the House with detailed locations, along with a breakdown of what it will cost the government to construct 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.’
The Ministry in March had signed 199 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.
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 199 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 the government’s “Dream Realised” initiative, which is intended to ensure 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 last had said that the low-income bracket is as important as those in the higher brackets are 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 allottees 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 government is well within its promises of ensuring that 50,000 house lots are allocated during its five-year term.
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