Govt exploring financing models for major infrastructural projects; US$500M needed for housing drive

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President Irfaan Ali has stated that the Government is exploring various financing options in relation to funding of the massive infrastructural development projects his administration plans to undertake within the next five years.

“Most of the development that we are talking about now, it has a lot to do with mobilising private capital, it has nothing to do with going into the oil funds or anything…it is about mobilising private capital, whether it is international, regional or whether it is local,” the President said during an interview with senior journalists; Nazima Raghubir and Denis Chabrol on Wednesday evening.

The Head of State cited the Government’s housing programme, which he said would require an investment of about US$500 million to be completed within the timeframe of five years. He explained that this sum is needed in order to put the necessary infrastructure in place so as to open up new lands and to be build new houses.

“I have been looking at many of the developing countries’ models and one of it is to explore the open market to see what type of resources are out there and at what rate, because the cost of capital is very important,” President Ali highlighted.

President Irfaan Ali

The President posited that currently there is a lot of concessional rates “because there is some amount of liquidity in the international market”.

He also hinted at tapping into the huge Guyanese Diaspora to raise capital. “We have a very big Diaspora, if you look at the Indian model; the developing Diaspora Investment Fund (DIF), it might be able to raise some amount of substantial capital”.

Noting that an assessment of that market has not been done as yet, he expressed that the Government is looking at every available option at the moment and will make a decisions based on what is best for the country and its people.

The PPP/C Government has said it is working to provide at least 50,000 houselots to Guyanese during this present term in office.

The $3 Billion allocated in this year’s budget to the housing sector will be utilised for various activities including infrastructural development in existing housing schemes, land preparation for new housing schemes and land acquisition.

According to the Government, young professionals, individuals with an immediate need and persons with adequate disposable income will be facilitated to commence construction. Private developers are also included as part of the comprehensive housing strategy.

The Government has also commenced preparation for a four-lane high-span bridge across the Demerara River which it said is badly needed to replace the present structure that has been “limping along”.

Further, the administration is actively working towards expanding the country’s road network system, especially along the East Bank, West Coast and East Coast corridors.