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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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No private sector appetite to build $850,000 houses

Colm Imbert
Colm Imbert

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said there was no “appetite” by the public sector to participate in housing construction with Government for houses costing $850,000 due to inflated payments received under the UNC administration.

Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh said for the line item private public housing construction $50 million was allocated in 2019 but nothing was used and he asked if there was any private sector public sector partnership to construct houses. He added that $25 million was being allocated in this budget and asked about the status of the programme.

Imbert replied: “We’ve decided to press on with this programme. What we’ve found in the private sector is a reluctance on the part of private builders to build an HDC (Housing Development Corporation) house...for $850,000.”

He explained through the programme the private sector would be given HDC drawings and specifications for a small, three-bedroom house and they would build it for a particular price and would be given a $100,000 grant if the specifications and price are met.

“We’ve not found an appetite in the private sector for building houses in that range because they’d become accustomed under the UNC to getting $1.3 million for a house that should really only cost $700,000.”

He said none of the $50 million was spent because there was no appetite to build houses at $750,000 or $850,000. Imbert reiterated the announced budget programme to pay people $500,000 for a basic house.

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