Govt actively seeking to acquire more land from State agencies for housing – Croal

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Overhead view of a housing development location in Guyana

…land recently received from GuySuCo; GL&SC, MMA-ADA also being engaged

The Government is in a constant mode of seeking land to acquire from State agencies for housing development, and according to Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal, their efforts paid off recently with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) transferring land to them.

In an exclusive interview with this publication, Croal explained that the demand for housing largely drives how much land they seek to acquire from State agencies. According to Croal, land acquisition is always ongoing as the Housing Ministry engages agencies that fall under other Ministries and hold large tracts of land.

“We have to work closely with GuySuCo too. Because they need their land for their purpose. But there has been some land they’ve been giving up, that allows us future expansion for housing development. And we received some recently. We received in Region Three and we’ve now gotten some on the East Coast.”

“There are some new areas we’ve been working on, on the East Coast. So, for example, there’s a new opening at Enterprise. And we’re coming down the line, we have Lusignan. I’m working closely to get the Success land. You know we had some issues with squatting there,” Croal said.

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal

He noted that in Region Four, most of the land they are interested in is either under the auspices of GuySuCo or the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). Croal explained, however, that the first agency the Ministry interfaces with is the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC), the custodian of all State land.

“Once we are able to identify with them possible areas we can get, then we would engage the agency,” Croal explained, noting that another agency they would engage with after GL&SC is the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary-Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA).

Zeroing in on Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), where there are 13,000 pending applications, Croal explained that land acquisition is an ongoing exercise here. In Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), he noted that there will be a Dream Realised initiative during the Building Expo period from July 22 to 24.

“We will be having another round of our Dream Realised land allocation exercise that will see some lands on the East Bank, as well as some lands on the East Coast. So, these are always an ongoing process. And in Region Five case, lands fall under two agencies,” Croal explained.

“This year, all regions can look forward to being part of our programme to ensure we have additional distribution taking place. Likewise, you saw the President when he went to Region Seven. There was a commitment. I’m going back there with the team in August. Right now, our focus is on the Building Expo. We committed our programme for housing, 500 houses in Bartica as well as additional land for allocations.”

With the delivery of Budget 2022 back in February, the Government of Guyana is aiming to accelerate an already robust housing plan that will include the distribution of 15,000 house lots for the year.

Housing and Water Minister Collin Croal had previously told Guyana Times that the 2022 plans include the distribution of 15,000 house lots as well as the continuation of the home improvement and subsidy programme.

Of the $552 billion in the budget, $12.4 billion had been allocated for the housing sector. This figure had included money to build out the infrastructure required to sustain these house lots, including roads.

Since taking office, the PPP/C Government has made it clear that it was aiming to fulfil its manifesto promise of distributing 50,000 house lots over the next five years.