With growing interest from oil and gas companies looking to invest in Guyana, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal has underscored the ‘heavy demand’ for commercial and industrial land.
He reassured investors that the government is addressing the demand based on availability, despite implementing an aggressive housing programme that provides opportunities for Guyanese to acquire a piece of land.
Minister Croal was speaking on the televised programme ‘Energy Perspective’ on Wednesday, outlining his ministry’s efforts in attracting investors and facilitating business growth, particularly in the growing oil and gas sector.
The minister spoke of the implementation of the single window electronic processing, an online platform that replaces the current paper-based system, allowing investors to apply for permits and approvals from anywhere in the world.
The implementation of this information technology platform is facilitated with the passage of the Planning and Development Single Window System Bill in the National Assembly in 2023.
Extensive training was also done with the relevant stakeholders and agencies including the Local Democratic Organs.
“With the new system, you can be anywhere in the world and apply for permits and go through the entire process. So, with that you have transparency [and] predictability,” he explained.
However, recognising the significance of the oil and gas sector, Minister Croal revealed a dedicated policy at the housing ministry for expedited approvals.
The fast-track system, he noted, has already yielded 33 approvals in 2023 alone, and 127 approvals in the last three years.
“That means a lot because it’s a lot of investments,” the minister emphasised.
Addressing concerns about inappropriate land use, Minister Croal stressed the importance of zoning regulations.
He pointed to areas like Sherriff Street in Georgetown, which have naturally transitioned to a commercial over time.
The ministry, he affirmed, plays a crucial role in ensuring proper zoning and land use.
“There are also those persons who are buying lands from private individuals and seeking approvals [for commercial purposes] and we have to turn down those because the area is residential…I urge persons to please check with the ministry in terms of the land use,” Minister Croal stated.
Looking beyond land allocation, the housing minister highlighted the ministry’s commitment to developing vital infrastructure. He cited the billions invested along the East Bank corridor’s new four-lane roads as an example of creating an environment conducive to business establishment and growth.
Additionally, Minister Croal noted a surge in requests from individuals seeking to convert their land use for building apartment complexes.
This trend, he explained, is heavily driven by the oil and gas industry.
“We have been directly playing our part in the oil and gas sector to be able to respond to the demand,” he reiterated.
The government has delivered 30,000 house lots over the past three years in keeping with its manifesto commitment to deliver 50,000 house lots to Guyanese by 2025. [Extracted from DPI]