ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Minister of Finance Harold Lovell says an additional 127 acres of government land is being made available in an expansion of the Construct Antigua & Barbuda Initiative.
In all, around 600 parcels of land will be sold, averaging a quarter of an acre per plot, to help boost the economy through an increase in residential construction, he said yesterday on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues.
“It will mean that the persons who could not take advantage of the Construct Antigua Barbuda Initiative, they will be in a position to go to the bank and say I have the land and so I can take advantage of this initiative,” the finance minister said.
“This initiative is expected to reduce the cost of residential construction by as much as 20 per cent.
“The land has been allocated under a National Physical Development Plan completed in October and will include 30 acres in North Sound, 20 acres in Freetown, 12 acres in Bolans, 15 acres in Urlings and 50 acres in McPond,” he said.
Lovell said a policy decision has been made to no longer sell land without the proper infrastructure and a public private partnership has been formed to develop the land with the appropriate infrastructure before it is sold. However he assured that while the selling price would need to reflect the fact that the proper roads and utilities have already been installed, the price will remain below that charged by private sellers.
Through the Construct Antigua Barbuda Initiative, potential homeowners and participants are being entitled to tax relief and discounts on all building material procured locally, as well as reduced rates and fees from banks, insurance companies, aggregate suppliers and contractors registered with the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA).
The initiative, a collaboration between the government and key players in the private sector, aims to reduce home ownership costs by 15 to 20 per cent, stimulate economic activity, create employment and rebuild confidence in the economy.
“We have had projects up to $18 million which have come on board and those projects are proceeding but in order to give it an extra push we are now making available another 127 acres of government land,” Lovell said.