The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda recently made the decision to devote several one- to 10-acre parcels of Crown land to small contractors who are willing to finance, construct and sell homes.
To facilitate this, the Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Renewal, Maria Browne announced that “further tax incentives for contractors wishing to take the government up on their offer to construct homes” will be implemented.
On Wednesday, Cabinet ratified a decision made last week to set aside the land, which will be sold at $3 per square foot to the contractors, who will be compelled to submit their development plans to the Development Control Authority for approval prior to the commencement of construction.
Browne, in a recent press release, welcomed the Cabinet’s decision and said that this move by the Gaston Browne administration is a bold one that is designed to meet the housing needs of the country while ensuring that any person who qualifies to own a home is given the opportunity to achieve this dream.
Minister Browne also pointed out that there is a very strong demand for housing in Antigua and Barbuda as over 7,000 applications have been received by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHAPA) and National Housing for homes and lands to construct homes.
“With the continuously rising demand for climate resilient homes, it is important for private contractors to be given equal opportunity to access the market. Under this new arrangement, we will extend the same concessions to the small contractors that are being offered to National Housing in the construction of the new homes. I believe that this method will lead to the empowerment of many Antiguans and Barbudan,” Minister Browne said.
The new programme is being managed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Land and Urban Renewal, whose office located in the Department of Agriculture on Queen Elizabeth Highway, and where the contractors are being directed to submit their formal business proposals.
Meanwhile, Browne, who is also the Member of Parliament for the St John’s Rural East Constituency, responded to the claim made by the Leader of United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, who described the programme as a get rich quick scheme by the government for its friends, by saying that the records will show that since taking office, the Gaston Browne Administration would have constructed more affordable homes for Antiguans and Barbudans than the UPP would have constructed in the 10 years it was in power.
“We have demonstrated that we are about empowering our people and we will continue to devise programmes that will ensure that the greatest number of Antiguans and Barbudans own their own homes,” she said.