Guyana Lands and Surveys exploring rate increase
GEORGETOWN – Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) Trevor Benn yesterday said the Commission had undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at generating revenue to make its services more efficient and stakeholder-friendly.
Benn made this announcement at a press briefing held at his D’urban Backlands office.
One of these major projects is a Lease/Rent Portfolio, through which the Commission aims to determine how many leases have been granted and how much income can be expected annually to aid in efficient programme planning.
Based on the work done to date, Benn said, indications are that if the GL&SC were to receive all of the money it is owed, in January, for example, it would not be able to function for more than three months of the year.
Another option is to increase the rates for land rent, he said.
“We have not had rent increases… for the last 15 years to be exact, since , when the Commission came into being. So people are still paying very menial rates… For example, our maps, which are in use at the moment were done back in the 1960s/1970s.
“To update those maps, per region, it’s roughly US$1 million so at the current rates that we are charging, which for example, for an agriculture lot is $100 per acre, in some areas, $200 per acre, we cannot service the Commission. We cannot bring the Commission to the 21st Century organisation that we really would like it to be,” the Commissioner said.
The GL&SC is the only agency authorised to approve and oversee surveys in the country and this is another way in which it is generating income.
Benn also said although the Commission still does most of its work manually, it is in the process of digitising its records. This process is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, even with a lack of resources.
The GL&SC is currently working on a project funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) that will help to provide the resources to speed-up its computerisation process, he said. (GINA)