Recognising that more needs to be done to not only promote women’s interests but provide opportunities for them, President Dr Irfaan Ali has disclosed that a massive number of the Young Professional homes under Government’s housing drive will go towards female applicants.
He made this revelation during his feature address at the launch of the WE LIFT – Women’s Empowerment Expo at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Saturday. The two-day event was held ahead of Monday’s International Women’s Day observance.
According to the Head of State, “I was very pleased recently when I learned that a significant percentage of the Young Professional homes will be taken up by females. And that tells a story that the message and the culture and the stereotype is changing to the extent that young women today see themselves as providing their own opportunities, owning their own homes. This is very important for empowerment, very important for the building of confidence.”
The President went onto note that while there is a global trend of women getting more opportunities and being empowered now more than ever, he recognised that more needs to be done especially here in Guyana.
“That is why I think from a government, from a societal perspective, we have to look at a national approach in which the mainstream challenges of women into the policy framework of the country. Not just for govt but, more importantly, for private sector too. How challenging it is for women to access loans and how do we address that. If we are to motivate investment in a particular area, we have to build specific investment regime to motivate that investment whether it is tax incentive.
“Similarly, in order to break the cycle and make it easier we have to sit with the banking sector and we have to work on a plan in which we can develop an incentive regime that would make it easier and less complicated for women to get loans so that they can start their own businesses,” President Ali posited.
To this end, he said that his intention is to promote more jobs which will benefit women, including call centres, which can earn additional income for housewives.
In his Budget 2021 speech last month, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh had announced that the PPP/C Government will be constructing 1,000 homes for low-income earners and young professionals this year in keeping with its manifesto promise to improve the standard of living of Guyanese.
In fact, President Ali in January had stated that with several new roads coming on stream such as the East Coast to East Bank Bypass road and the Diamond to Eccles then to Mandela Avenue road are being looked at as viable options for the professionals and low-income wage earners.
“In terms of housing, we have also examined some of the sites that we are developing for young professional housing, the low-income housing and so on. As you know, we have a very ambitious target for housing and these infrastructures are critical,” the Head of State explained.
When it comes to housing, the Housing and Water Ministry has managed to allocate over 5000 house lots since the PPP Government took office in August of last year – which is more than half of the amount that was issued during the APNU/AFC Administration’s five years stint. Additionally, the 50,000 house lots target in their first term will amount to 10,000 per year.