The Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA’s) Jubilee Payment Plan had been extended for two days, contrary to an earlier announcement that the deal was cancelled.
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, with responsibility for Housing, Valerie Sharpe-Patterson explained that the additional time caters for those persons affected by the premature announcement, and who were unable to make the necessary payment to the CH&PA.
The deadline to complete payment under the Jubilee 50/50 Payment Plan has been extended to Thursday, June 2, 2016. “I think is reasonable. I had to consider this, because of the persons living outside out of Georgetown, who came to make their payments (on May 25), and had to return with their monies,” the Minister told the Government Information Agency (GINA) today.
An initial report that the promotion has ended, resulted in the staff of the CH&PA refusing payment from persons. Minister Sharpe-Patterson explained that this was due to miscommunication on the part of housing officials.
The confusion erupted, after several newspapers carried articles stating that the Chairman of the CHPA board, Hamilton Green said that the promotion was cancelled, but Minister Sharpe-Patterson explained that “…as I speak, I am not aware of a decision of the board, that was announced by the chairman…I have not seen any minute decision of the board, and even if it was, I have already announced that decision and it had to go.”
Following the confusion, Minister Sharpe-Patterson said that she consulted with her senior ministers, and on advice, “I said to the management because you have not received any decision of the board in writing, then you do not act on what the media says. Management is not supposed to be informed of any decision, through the media so I said to them go ahead, operate as normal, continue to take the payments,” she added.
The 50/50 payment plan was launched in February in commemoration of Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary. The plan provided for every person who had been allocated a lot and who had paid the first half of the cost by the end of April, to qualify for a 50 percent discount on the second half, to be paid by the end of May.
Minister Sharpe-Patterson told GINA that she proposed the promotion to management because, “I felt it is going to do the Guyanese people a good thing.” “It would also help us to improve our occupancy rate, it will increase business for suppliers and the most important benefit is that people who are unable to pay the high cost for house lots, this promotion would now make it more affordable,” she said.
“I have seen many persons who are unable to buy a house lot at a cost of $1M or $2M now being able to do so because of this promotion.” She explained, as well, that the promotion has helped to increase CH&PA’s liquidity, “because they had to pay their first 50 percent by April 30, and many persons responded and now they are making their final payment.
The 50/50 payment was also applicable to the beneficiaries of turnkey homes, in terms of the cost of the house lot, not the homes. Also in commemoration of Guyana’s 50th anniversary, the CH&PA had promised to give 50 persons $300,000 as a subsidy. The beneficiaries of the grants were required to be living within one of the Government’s housing schemes, and the subsidy was to be used to carry out home repairs.
Minister Sharpe-Patterson disclosed that whilst the board approved the sum of $15M for the home improvement subsidies, “it felt that it was better to give 300 persons, a subsidy of $50,000 each.”
The Minister said that eligible beneficiaries will be given a voucher to go to the suppliers for the purchase of building materials to effect repairs to their house.
“I know that $50,000 is not that much, but it can do something,” the Minister said. She explained that the voucher which initially was to be disbursed during the month of May will now be handed out to the eligible beneficiaries between November 1, to December 1.
She explained that the methodology for the disbursement of the subsidy has “not yet been worked out fully,” but reiterated, “all low income households in existing housing areas and regularised squatter settlements developed by the CH&PA in all the regions are eligible.”