Housing Ministry refutes report that Govt’s housing drive is a ‘profit tool’

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Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal

See full statement from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA)

Kaieteur News continues to spew falsehood on another of the Government’s development project

Georgetown, August 4, 2021-In what can be described as poor journalism or plain old falsehood, the Kaieteur News is again attempting to mislead the public by insinuating that the Government’s Housing Drive is a profit tool for the Ministry of Housing and Water. The Ministry strongly rebuffs this most recent attack on another project, which seeks to benefit and improve the lives of Guyanese.

In an article dated Wednesday, August 4, 2021, the Kaieteur Newspaper published the following headline “Housing Ministry to now construct and sell houses for profit”. To say the least, this headline reflects poor journalistic skills and at most is grossly inaccurate.

The information shared in the article is grossly distorted and does not fully reflect the information presented by the Minister of Housing and Water, the Hon. Collin Croal, in response to questions, posed to him by Opposition Parliamentarian Annette Ferguson.

Ferguson’s two-part question sought clarity on the $13. 9 B contract for the construction of housing units in Regions 3,4, 5, and 6; the breakdown of the category of persons to benefit and the expected and final cost for the housing units.

In response, the Minister clearly outlined, that persons within the Low, Moderate, Middle, and High brackets will benefit from this initiative.

A breakdown of costing was also provided, and as has been the policy for years under similar housing projects, the cost for the land is included in the final cost.

The units for low-income units carry a final cost of – $5.5 M of which $300,000.00 will go towards the cost for the land, ($5.2 M per unit). The Moderate-Income units will be sold at – $7.5 M of which $300,000.00 for land ($7.2 M per unit cost)

The cost for high- and middle-income units stands at $19.9 M and $13.9 M respectively with the land carrying a cost of $1.5 M each.

As has been the policy on similar housing projects for the construction of housing, each beneficiary is only required to pay the Ministry of Housing Central Housing and Planning Authority, the cost of the land and the remaining cost is paid to the contractor, through a mortgage scheme with any financial institution of the beneficiary’s choice.

For Kaieteur News to even suggest that the agency is making a profit on these units is preposterous and disingenious, as the cost for the lands these units are built on are heavily subsidized by the government. If the newspaper is running out of options for sensational clickbait headlines, in hope of generating a profit, they should spend time researching facts and useful information, which will be beneficial to their readers and not mislead them.

All of the government’s programs, including its ambitious housing drive are crafted for the people of this country and are not profit-driven in any way. The contracts for the construction of the 5,000 housing units across Regions, 3,4, 5, and 6 were awarded, using the competitive bidding process by public tender. The Ministry will not be daunted or distracted from its numerous development projects, all of which stand to benefit Guyanese from all walks of life, and will continue to execute its programs and policies with precision, transparency and equality.