COGNISANT of the challenges facing land owners who are having difficulty in completing the construction of their homes, the government will be launching a home construction assistance facility, which will see the government assisting prospective homeowners in sourcing financing and materials to complete the construction of their homes.
Also towards making home ownership more affordable, the government has also removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on sheet rock and cement board until the market stabilises. This is due to the rising cost of materials as a result of the external shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine war.
These measures and others were announced on Monday by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, during a video message aired on his Facebook page.
On the removal of VAT on the sheet rock and cement board, the President noted that: “This measure is expected to cost a $100 million annually but will provide critical additional relief to persons constructing their homes in keeping with our government’s strong commitment to make homeownership affordable to every single Guyanese.”
On the establishment of the home construction assistance facility, according to the President, the government decided to move forward with the housing assistance unit given the tremendous interest that the government has seen over the past few months for constructed homes, with the construction of the young professionals home.
“Our ability to service that interest has driven us to this conclusion that there is a great need for prospective homeowners to have a one-stop or comprehensive solution and this measure aims at doing this. Taking away the burden of going to the bank, and getting themselves qualified, all of this will be brought under one umbrella, one whole ownership management umbrella to make it easier for you to own your own home,” the President explained.
President Ali noted that it is through consultations in communities all across Guyana that the government observed that many persons who own a house lot are encountering challenges in managing the process of constructing their homes.
NO TRIVIAL TASK
“That is of course perfectly understandable because managing construction of a house is not a trivial task, considering that most of these families have absolutely no prior experience in home construction. And that in any event they are already occupied with the day-to-day demands of work and family life.
We expect that this measure will help to dramatically accelerate the capacity of Guyanese families to own, occupied their own home and house lots that have already been owned or that they have been allocated, but on which they’re currently having difficulty managing the complex process of home ownership and also having access to financing,” the President said.
He added: “If you increase the occupation level in existing housing schemes it will reduce dependency on rental, it will accelerate home ownership, it will accelerate more activity in the construction sector. It will make it easier for persons to get financing to build their homes where the government will be partnering with the prospective homeowners, the banks and the contractors in delivering an end- product that is a home to the respective families.”
Persons who have a house lot and wish to receive government’s help to construct their home on that lot will be able to register their interest with the assistance unit, which will be established shortly for this purpose.
At the time of registration, applicants will be able to select their preference from an option of three standard models of houses which will cost $7 million, $9 million or $12 million.
“Depending on the applicant income level, government will support them through the process of applying for bank financing to meet the cost of construction of the home, and will also look at helping in the initial phase of construction by the releasing of resources to expedite the construction process and help in bringing the homeowners and the banks together,” Dr Ali noted
“Government will also undertake construction on the home on behalf of the applicant and give the applicant a complete home in accordance with the option selected.”
This initiative relates to the governments home ownership drive, where the government is committed to distributing 50,000 house lots during its current five-year term of office.
According to Dr Ali, the government is well on its way to achieving its goal, having already gone past the 10,000 mark in house lot allocations.