Govt to gift Guyanese steel, cement as part of efforts to ensure affordable home ownership

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WhatsApp Image 2022-07-23 at 11.53.49 AM-15732631
President Dr Irfaan Ali as he addressed the massive crowd at the opening of the 2022 International Building Expo at the National Stadium in Providence, East Bank Demerara

Committing to ensuring home ownership is more affordable for families, that every citizen is lifted out of poverty, and that there is an increase in the net worth of every Guyanese, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Friday evening announced a number of initiatives.

Addressing the grand opening of the 2022 International Building Expo at the National Stadium in Providence, Dr. Ali said persons building homes at a cost of $6 million and below will receive from the government the steel and one sling of cement required to build the foundation.

For every other category of home builders, including young professionals and those in the middle-income bracket constructing homes costing over $6 million up to $25 million, the government will provide two slings of cement. 

Beckoning all Guyanese despite their race or political affiliation to ‘take a seat on the bus of prosperity,’ President Ali assured that his government will work for every citizen, building a future fit for purpose.

“The journey to prosperity has begun. The journey is powered by one vehicle, one Guyana. Whether your political views are aligned with the government, you have a seat in that vehicle. I urge you, ignore anyone who tells you not to take that seat. Claim your seat in this vehicle. Sit tight and embrace the prosperity that will come your way,” he told the huge crowd

Dr Ali said the advancements in the housing sector are also being made possible through the cooperation and responsiveness of local commercial banks.

Making further announcements, Dr. Ali said banks have agreed that there will be no percentage requirement for loans below $6 million.

“So, you wouldn’t have to find the 10 and 20 per cent…I want to congratulate the banks. The local commercial banks have been tremendously responsive to this expo.”

Further, he said banks have agreed that they will reduce the interest rate for housing and building loans up to $9 million to 3.8 per cent.

“This is coming at a time when the world is increasing interest. These are responses to policies of the government… So, the government is with you and the banks are with you. No requirement because of the singular policy,” he stated.

The announcements by President Ali have added to an already robust system set in play by the administration to help citizens become homeowners. In 2020 the government returned the Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) to $30 million.

That same year, the administration also announced the zero-rating of construction materials including stone imported for construction and housing from CARICOM, locally produced pre-stressed concrete piles, locally fabricated, mild steel beams for building construction, and locally manufactured roofing and PVC products for building construction. Industrial grade cement duty has also been reduced from 15 to five per cent. 

Additionally, there has been an increase in the low-income mortgage loan ceiling from $10 to $12 million. Such loans can be obtained through commercial banks under the low-income housing loan programme.

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