The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has provided a breakdown of the entity’s performance over the past year and revealed a dismal track record with regard to the expenditure of almost $6 billion, which was set aside to be spent from the CH&PA’s housing fund.
According to CH&PA’s records, a total of $5.8 billion was budgeted for the year 2016, with $5.2 billion of this sum identified to fund the infrastructural investments and housing construction programme.
However, as at December 2016, the total capital expenditure stood at $688.4 million, which represents 12 per cent of the total budgeted sum, while current expenditure was $414.2 million.
The entity’s current revenues for 2016 stood at a paltry $67.8 million.
The CH&PA reported too that there were no new housing areas developed, or upgrading works completed within existing areas, “since decisions to develop new areas or the prioritising of existing areas for upgrading ought to be informed through a process of feasibility assessments that is supported by current, comprehensive and accurate data/financial information for each housing area.”
The CH&PA said the field data collection exercises were completed in November, while the data entry and verification exercise was in progress.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the allocation of lands during the course of 2016, the CH&PA reported that only 2015 house lots were allocated, but that represented a more than 100 per cent increase over its target of 1000 allocations.
Two hundred and twenty-one regularised squatters received allocation letters, out of the target of 400 squatters.
As it relates to this year, the CH&PA says it is geared to fund its 2017 programme from the housing fund to the tune of $8 billion.
Of that amount, some $2.3 billion has been earmarked to fund several of the projects that would have had to be rolled over from 2016.
Some $2.5 billion has also been set aside for the “consolidation of existing housing schemes to conduct feasibility study of existing housing scheme as requested by CH&PA Board prior to intervention, and the upgrading of roads, drains and structures in low-income, regularized squatting areas and other planned housing areas”.
According to the information supplied by the CH&PA, Government has set aside $1.6 billion to be utilised on the first phase of infrastructural development works and housing pilots, namely those for the townhouses, duplexes and single-flat houses.
Minister with direct responsibility for the sector, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson had recently contended, “2016 was not our best year…2017 cannot and will not be a repeat of 2016…We have a job to do – to provide decent, affordable housing for the Guyanese people.”