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The planned programme to hand over hundreds of Central Housing and Planning Authority’s (CH&PA) schemes to their respective Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) is being hindered by funding challenges.

A number of CH&PA’s schemes that have been developed over the years are yet to be handed over to the respective NDCs. Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that this is due to the lack of financing needed to complete the programme.

“It comes down to adequate financing to complete this programme. There is an estimate that some $60 Billion is the figure that is required to complete the infrastructure,” the minister told GINA. The Minister said, “It is an enormous challenge, but there is a list of areas that have been identified, and already in 2017 sufficient budgetary allocation has been approved to allow for the consolidation and completion in a number of areas.”

Minister Bulkan explained that there are over 200 uncompleted housing schemes. “There are actually 38 schemes that were developed in the 2011 to 2015 period, but over and beyond that the actual number is greater than 250, and so I think this gives us an idea as to the enormity of the challenge that is faced,” the minister said.

The number of incomplete scheme also speaks to how ‘over-the-top’, the previous administration housing programme was. “It was overly ambitious of our predecessors, that too many new areas were created without sufficient emphasis on the adequate infrastructure in those areas before new areas were created. It is a challenge that we have inherited and that we are committed to addressing in a structured manner,” the minister said.

Minister Bulkan added that only this week at the Cabinet Sub-Committee meeting, funding was approved to complete the infrastructure work in the housing scheme at Number 76 Village in Corentyne, Berbice to allow for its handing over to the Corriverton Town Council.

The delays in handing over the new housing schemes to the NDCs continues to impact significantly on the finances of the cash strapped local authorities. Should the new housing areas be handed over to the NDCs, this will add to the coffers of the entities, many of whose rates and taxes collection hovers at less than 50 percent.

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