An agreement is in place for a Chinese Construction Company to provide five hundred middle-income houses to the people of Grenada on an annual basis over a four-year period.
The agreement, signed last week Thursday between the Government of Grenada and GAO Zhen Company, came after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on September 26 establishing a Public/Private Partnership to provide affordable houses to middle income earners in the country.
The proposal for a public/private partnership with the Government of Grenada, the Housing Authority of Grenada (HAG), and GOA Zhen and Partners for the construction of middle income houses was received on May 10.
Minister of Social Development and Housing, Delma Thomas who signed on behalf of the government, indicated that the houses will be earmarked for professionals including Police Officers, and Nurses.
Details were not given about the financial package involved in the building of the houses and the arrangements to be made with the prospective homeowners.
Minister Thomas said affordable houses is very important for the success of any family, and the construction of the houses by the Chinese Government is one step towards providing homes to low income earners.
However, the senior Government Minister observed that this does not adequately address the demand for affordable houses for civil servants and private sector employees who are interested in owning their own homes.
According to Minister Thomas, construction work is expected to begin in the new year.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAO Zhen Real Estate and Development Company Limited, William Shen reaffirms his company’s commitment to help solve the housing deficit of Grenada.
Shen promised that seventy-five percent of the workforce will comprise Grenadians.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who witnessed the signing ceremony spoke of the plans of his government to improve the local housing stock.
Dr. Mitchell who holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance said that in the presentation of the 2014 Budget on December 6, he will outline the prospects for increased houses for Grenadians.
He said an announcement will be made about a soft loan for homeowners to expand, renovate or build a small house.
Dr. Mitchell said the house repair programme will have to be expanded from what it is currently while government acknowledged that it does not have the resources to meet the needs of those in need.
The Prime Minister is expected to use his budget speech to give information of the planned expansion.
Phase one of the housing project involving the Chinese firm will take place at Diamond in St. Mark’s, Carriacou, Dunfermlin in St. Andrew’s. Corinth, St. David’s, and Frequente, St. George’s.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the HAG, Ashton Frame welcomed the partnership the authority has established with the Chinese Company in light of its poor financial state.
Frame said the proposal does not require the HAG to make any significant capital output to make it happen,
He disclosed that HAG just has to provide the land for the houses that are to be constructed by GOA Zhen Real Estate and Development Company Limited.
Although the houses will be designed by the Chinese Company, Frame said HAG will be providing active input according to local requirements.
The houses will be two and three bedrooms, and three-level apartments fully furnished.