Housing allocation increased by 300% – Min Rodrigues tells IDB Forum

Minister within Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, M.P.

Guyana is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a projected growth rate of 47 per cent in 2022, and this transfer of investments is trickling down to infrastructure and better services.

This was reiterated by Minister within the Housing Ministry Susan Rodrigues, who recently participated in panel discussions at the Housing Forum 2022, hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group in Washington DC, USA.

The Minister underscored a number of housing programmes implemented by the Government and their impact on addressing housing deficits of vulnerable populations.

However, she identified that the allocation programme has increased by a whopping 300 per cent since Government took office. At that time, there was a backlog of over 70,000 applications pending, dating back years. Out of total applications in the system, 75 per cent are from low-income households.

Minister Rodrigues and other officials at the IDB Housing Forum

“We see the transfer of that wealth to our infrastructure system and to our housing investment, where we have seen the housing allocation increase by 300 per cent from the previous years. There is a lot of investment taking place,” Rodrigues pointed out.

“Our low-income population is our women, people with disabilities, young people, our Indigenous community. When we invest in our housing programme, these vulnerable groups are the main beneficiaries in our housing programme,” she added.

Turning to the housing sector, she asserted that Guyana has a heavily subsidised programme that is primarily designed to cater for vulnerable groups. A breakdown shows 82 per cent of house lots being subsidised by the Government for low affordability.

She also spoke on informal settlements, noting, “In 2003, we inventoried all of the informal settlements in our country and we found a total of 216 informal settlements. Some of these may be regularised and therefore we can issue land titles. Others have to be relocated. In that case, we incorporate them into our national housing programme.”

Minister Rodrigues mentioned the Hinterland Electrification Programme, where Government distributes solar panels to Indigenous households. She added that public-private partnerships for building housing units have been successful.

“We depend on our private sector in this regard, to get people into homes and not just house lots. So, we utilise economies of scales in this regard to keep prices affordable, so it is cheaper to buy a house through the Government programme than having to contact a contractor on your own,” she emphasised.

The Government, through the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), distributed almost 2000 house lots during the first six months of the year and is projected to distribute a further 8000 house lots by this year-end. This is according to the Ministry of Finance 2022 Mid-Year Report, which states that in the first half of the year, 1843 house lots were distributed. This means that since the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) entered office in 2020, they have allocated 11,680 house lots.

It was explained that of the $11 billion allocated to continue infrastructure works in CH&PA housing areas, the sum of $7.4 billion was spent during the review period. To this end, infrastructural works are ongoing in housing areas in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and 10.