International, local interest skyrocket to finance Govt’s housing drive

…evaluation report completed for bids received – Minister

By Jarryl Bryan

There has been a skyrocketing of both local and foreign interest in funding the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government’s housing drive, thus resulting in Government creating a shortlist out of local and international companies and investors vying for investment opportunities in the housing sector.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

In an exclusive interview with this publication, Minister within the Housing Ministry Susan Rodrigues confirmed that the Ministry has received bids from local financial institutions as well as international conglomerates and private investors, all of which have since been combed through by Ministry evaluators.
“Only a few days ago we got the report from the evaluators. The last time we spoke, they were in the process of completing the evaluation. But the evaluation is complete… for the financing,” Minister Rodrigues explained.
“We had the evaluators do a shortlist. So those persons who were shortlisted, we will request more information from them… local banks as well as some international groups. Banks and private investors,” she said, noting that the investor interest in housing is at an all-time high.
The PPP Administration is seeking to allocate some 50,000 house lots in its first term, which will amount to 10,000 per year. Already, it has allocated 3500 house lots since the Government took office four months ago – which is half of the amount that was issued during the last Administration’s five-year stint.
On Friday and Saturday, another 2000 house lots were issued through the Housing Ministry’s “Dream Realised” initiative at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, in collaboration with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA).

Minister within the Housing Ministry, Susan Rodrigues

This is in an effort to reduce the backlog of 70,000 housing applications in the system. In fact, the Government’s efforts have allowed it to clear the backlog of applications in the system dating from the 1990s.
In keeping with the Government’s vision for the housing sector, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced back in October that the Government is looking at a number of areas to secure financing for the housing sector. This includes efforts to raise some US$250 million for housing projects.
The Government had previously published an advertisement inviting Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from interested parties to finance housing development. Entities desirous of participating in this financing activity were invited to submit a proposed term sheet detailing: interest rate and terms; detailed term sheet clearly outlining assumptions and expectations; time period to conclude financing; capability and experience of participating entity.
Additionally, the entities were asked to submit any such other terms and conditions as may be relevant. Government would have then assessed the EoIs and selected the parties to negotiate/participate in a Housing Financing Development Plan.
The Government also plans to invest more than $1 billion into the Region Three housing sector in 2021 through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded project. Funds were committed for La Parfaite Harmonie, Onderneeming, West Minister, Recht-Door-Zee, Lust-en-Rust and Schoonord.
The IDB project, which is slated to commence in January 2021, will target infrastructural elevation in existing housing areas to make them more appealing to prospective homeowners and create more sustainable communities.
Minister Rodrigues had disclosed earlier this month that the works would cover the construction of three playgrounds and 50 core houses and at least 500 subsidies would be granted to qualifying prospective homeowners. Additionally, she noted the inclusion of light-emitting diode (LED) lights aimed at enhancing safety features in the communities, road construction, and upgrades, as well as water distribution networks.
Also on the Ministry’s agenda for housing development are expansion and upgrades of existing housing areas including Stewartville, Edinburgh, Anna Catherina, Tuschen and Zeelugt. Further, Region Three is also set to benefit from a US$100 million water treatment project for which the Government is securing funding. That should increase water treatment capacity on the coastland from 52 per cent to 90 per cent. (G3)