Housing sector

UNPA+AFC has created a solid strategy for the housing sector

Dear Editor,

Please leave room for me in your letter column to post my missive. Last week, the People’s Progressive/Civic Party celebrated its first year in power. Over the past year, the government has failed to meet the needs of the people of Guyana, even as it continues to focus on frivolous issues and cheap politics as the people of this country continue to suffer. It has been a year of baskets and promises. Nevertheless, Mr. Editor, I want to focus on the government’s housing program.

In the People’s Progressive Party/Civic 2020 Manifesto, on page 36, under the heading “Affordable Housing“, the introduction says: “The hallmark of PPP/C governments has been the housing program providing affordable housing to all Guyanese. PPP/C developed and distributed 112,766 house lots to Guyanese families, 80% of which went to low-income families. Further, they asserted, “Under the UNPA+AFC, no new housing programs have been established and construction has slowed down in existing programs and the following promises have been made for the housing sector, including, but not limited to: creating 10,000 house lots per year, investing in supporting infrastructure in existing and new housing programs, waiving VAT on building materials, facilitating affordable homeownership financing ownership, promote home ownership, especially among young people and young professionals, through tax and other incentives, promote partnerships and encourage private sector participation in the sector. In its first year, the government has so far boasted of having allocated six thousand (6,000) house lots – a clear shortfall from the ambitious ‘10,000’ mark.

Under the editorship, the PPP/C regime has shed light on its two-decade housing plan – ambitious as it is – it shows that a foundation has been laid and abandoned by the UNPA+AFC government. As edited, when the Coalition took office in May 2015, our medium-term objective for the housing sector was “to improve the quality of life through the provision of adequate and affordable housing solutions”, while the PPP/C regime (in its 2020 Manifesto) accuses “UNPA+AFC of not developing new housing programs. This is far from the truth! The APNU+AFC recordings speak for themselves! Although we did not enjoy a full mandate, the Central Housing and Planning Authority through the Department of Communities was able to accomplish the following despite the challenges and constraints in the housing sector inherited from the previous PPP/C government whose failed policies and programs were designed not to favor women, youth, civil servants, single mothers, the elderly, disabled and low-income people, but rather friends, families and pals… a typical example being the “Pradoville 2 fiasco”.

The main challenges facing Guyana’s housing program are:

● Financing cost

● Inadequate infrastructure and public services

● The need for strategic planning

● Low participation in housing programs

● The need for a review of the current configuration of processing applications

Editor, it is an understatement for the PPP/C regime to say that the UNPA+AFC government has developed “No New Housing Schemes”. Well, as the last serving minister responsible for housing under the David Granger administration, let me highlight the achievements of the housing sector from May 2015 to May 2020, twenty one (21) new housing areas have been created, namely:

1.0 HOUSING AREAS

Housing units have been allocated in the following areas: Perservance, EBD, Onderneeming, WBD, Experiment, WCB, Amelia’s Ward, Linden and Prospect, EBD. The Central Housing and Planning Authority through the Department of Communities then in 2019 was able to acquire land and make advance payments to the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission in the following areas:

Under the editorship, there are more than three hundred incomplete housing areas in all regions, which require road improvements. The coalition government assessed the financial implications for the work to be carried out in these areas and it would have cost the government nearly $50 billion. The PPP/C regime has failed tremendously to shake up the housing industry in the past and they will continue with their old habits and ways of doing business. Many have reported that people have begun to compromise the system, where people desperate for benefits pay over five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) to process their claims. Like other Ministries, the pre-May 2015 PPP/C government had no plan or roadmap for the housing sector and I guess there isn’t, but Guyanese are plagued by imaginary dreams of this diet and should be aware and cautious of their failure. policies and programs for the housing sector. In conclusion, a clear comparison of the policies of the two governments for the housing sector, I believe that the coalition government had a better plan for housing, since we were building and creating healthy and cohesive communities, rather than “bush lots “. A classic model is the perseverance area on the east bank of Demerara, just take a ride.

Sincerely,

Annette Ferguson, MP

UNPA+AFC