Minister of Finance Winston Jordan recently signed a Technical Assistance Agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for US$1, 762,250 to among other projects, develop a national housing strategy.
Speaking with the Government Information Agency (GINA) today, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan explained that the agreement provides for a sum of approximately US$300,000 for the development of the housing strategy
Minister of Communities Hon. Ronald Bulkan
The minister said that the money will support a technical consultancy to advance studies on the needs of the housing sector. Particularly, the consultancy would further the work of the recently concluded housing profile which was developed within the last year, the minister said.
In addition to ensuring that the needs of the public are properly identified, critical as well, the consultancy will reaffirm government’s trust and confidence that it is moving in right direction, the minister said.
The immediate focus in relation to the housing sector was one that until recently catered for the provision of service lots. Whilst that programme has delivered “some success” there is evidence that revealed in the latter years, the programme would have begun to “outlive its usefulness,” Minister Bulkan highlighted, referring to the rate of occupancy, which overall stands at over 45 per cent. This figure has gone up considerably, when the years 2011 to 2014 were examined, Minister Bulkan explained.
The rates of non-occupancy in the housing schemes which were developed during those periods are as high as 80 per cent. “It tells us that there are approximately 28,000 house lots that have been provided by the government for which persons have not been able to construct a house on it, and this is one of the reasons why there has been a change in relation to housing solutions,” the minister said.
The government’s new housing programme focuses on building and delivering to the public, housing units, as opposed to making house lots available. Minister Bulkan said that through an economies of scale and a robust procurement system, the intention is to have “well-built housing units that have adequate or superior community facilities to cater for the spirit of community.”