$335M contract signed for updated property valuation system

Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan and President of Axilogic Michael Chettleburgh pose with the signed contracts. Also in the picture are Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communities, Emile McGarrell (at left), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Axilogic John Psihos, Representative of MPAC, Antoni Wisniowski and Canadian High Commissioner Liliann Chatterjee. (Department of Public Information photo)

The Ministry of Com-munities yesterday signed a $335 million contract with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and Axilogic Inc. to update the property inventory and valuation systems across local democratic organs in Guyana.

The project will be piloted in New Amsterdam, Berbice, beginning October today and it is expected to be completed towards the end of 2019, according to the Department of Public Information (DPI).

The signing of the contract, which took place at the ministry’s boardroom in Kingston, is for the introduction of new technology and capacity building to support the sustainable implementation of modernised property inventory and valuation.

Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan was reported by DPI as saying that the project will allow for central government’s support of the restoration of capacity and functionality within local government organs since over time the revenue base of many councils has been questioned.

He added that the project is long overdue, as the last national valuation was done more than two decades ago. Bulkan explained that many councils are challenged due to inadequate information on the total number of properties and their values.

“There are cases where the rates of modest residential properties are at the same level of highly priced properties, and it poses as a severe impediment to councils to be able to have an equitable weighting regime. Of course, it impacts seriously on council’s ability to garner sufficient revenue,” Minister Bulkan was quoted as saying.

As a result, the minister said the Cabinet approved the engagement with the Canadian companies.

Canadian High Commissioner Liliann Chatterjee, who witnessed the signing, described the project as vital to the development of Guyana. “When you set the right evaluation in terms of garnering the right revenue generation, it also equips local councils to provide adequate services for their communities,” she noted.

Co-Founder and President of AxiLogic Inc. Michael Chettleburgh shared his company’s intention to work closely with Guyanese in educating them on the new technology and processes to create a centre of excellence in property evaluation.

“When Guyana has a full and complete inventory of its properties, whether its residential, commercial or special purpose and those are properly valued, it will really allow Guyana to better unlock the value inherent in your land which is very rich,” he said.

MPAC representative Antoni Wisniowski committed to ensuring an adequate job is done on the project during the 12 months duration.

Subsequently, public awareness sessions will be done to educate taxpayers and property owners on property valuation and what to expect from valuation offices, DPI said.

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