THE Small and Medium Contractors Housing Initiative is not a get-rich quick scheme, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) CEO Brent Lyons told contractors on Tuesday at the project launch at Government Campus Plaza, Port of Spain.
He made these remarks as several contractors expressed concerns at their cash flow situations and being out of pocket in the event of their participation in the plan to build housing units at a cost of $500,000 each, to be paid to them by the HDC. One man asked if it were possible for a contractor to earn any profit if paid that sum.
Lyons said they would not make any super profit but rather decent profits. “At the HDC we are building houses at 50 per cent of what we were paying a few years ago.” He said the cost had halved from $1,200 to $500-$600 per square foot. “They days of get rich off the HDC are gone,” he said. “Not on this programme.” Lyons otherwise said contractors fund their work by bank loans and would be paid in stages as work progresses from foundation completion onwards.
HDC chairman Noel Garcia urged contractors to work with the corporation. “We are open to suggestions. We are here to help. We’ve done it in the past. Some small contractors have gone on to become mega contractors. “I have no doubt this situation will be a win-win situation for all concerned.”
The meeting heard that the Ministry of Finance will supply $750 million to fund the project to build1,500 houses by those contractors who are selected.