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By the end of this government's mandate, around 6,500 social housing units will have been delivered. This is what Steven Obeegadoo indicated to the National Assembly yesterday. He intervened during budgetary debates.

Between the end of 2019 and today, 2,700 houses have been delivered. The Minister of Housing and Planning predicts that by the end of this month an additional 200 homes will be ready, making a total of 2,900 over four and a half years. “In comparison, the Labor Party regime only delivered 2,500 between 2005 and 2014,” he pointed out. He specifies that the 2,900 social housing units delivered at the end of June do not take into account those of the National Social Living Development Ltd. “The NSLD is 37 construction sites, to which a 38th site will be added within one or two months in Riambel. Added to the five other NHDC projects, that’s a total of more than 40 projects across the country,” he says.

By the end of this mandate, Steven Obeegadoo plans to deliver 3,600 additional housing units. “Which makes a total of around 6,500 social housing units available until the end of our mandate. It’s historically unprecedented,” he rejoices. The first NSLD houses, he specified, will be available within two months. “The sites ready to be delivered are starting to line up, among them, Olivia, Grand Bel-Air, among others,” said Steven Obeegadoo. The latter did not fail to scratch certain members of the opposition on this issue in these terms: “Reza Uteem will say that those at the head of the NSLD are overpaid. (…) Arvin Boolell will deplore the delay in the delivery of houses or even Osman Mahomed who speaks of misconduct in the allocation of contracts. I also challenge him to repeat this in public.”

He also spoke about the sum of Rs 586 million spent on the renovation of NHDC housing units from 2019 to date. There is also the Rs 435 million disbursed to 550 beneficiaries as part of the Roof Slab Grant.

Tourism

Regarding the other portfolio occupied by Steven Obeegadoo, namely tourism, he did not fail to highlight the comments of certain economists to the effect that 50% of the acceleration in growth was attributed to this sector which was however fiercely threatened by Covid-19. He indicated that revenue per tourist compared to pre-Covid increased by 46%. “Tourism revenues increased from Rs 63 billion in 2019 to Rs 86 billion today, an increase of 45%, in real terms, even taking into account the depreciation of the rupee, the inflationary effect of which stop talking about the opposition,” he said.

According to him, the country is doing better today in terms of tourist arrivals than in 2019, before the advent of Covid-19. “The figures for January to May show that we have already exceeded the 2019 level. We have recovered and we are moving beyond,” he explains. However, he concedes that this sector faces challenges, including connectivity, the number of airlines serving the country, ports of embarkation, available seats, etc.

Regarding the 2024-25 Budget, he speaks of a “militant, left-wing, socialist and progressive” budget. “It is a budget where we choose to support and show solidarity with the most deprived, the most vulnerable and the poorest, those who most need the welfare state and aid from the State,” he believes.

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