The government is focused on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister has already announced new infrastructure spending with the government announcing that major changes are coming. All this is being done to stimulate the economy and get it going as soon as possible. One major challenge to this ambitious undertaking is that projects of the magnitude required to make a huge impact take a lot of time. It is therefore important that all stakeholders find new ways of making this happen in the shortest amount of time possible.
To mobilise the resources that are required, the state has to help developers and landowners get their projects underway as quickly as possible. If the developers fail to do this, the government could build the projects itself and take a percentage of their profits made by the developers.
Once this acceleration in construction is underway, the government should have options for low-interest, long-term loans in place. The conditions for getting these loans would include rapid construction, a majority of the projects to be affordable and the unemployed to get trained and recruited to work on the projects.
The government could also come in and mandate that any project with more than 50 homes includes 50% affordable housing. Then, the local governments can be given grants to purchase these homes so they remain available to locals.
Reducing Unemployment Rates
If the projects are not started within 12 or 18 months, the government should step in to complete them by appointing a contractor and overseeing construction. In a bid to bolster employment options, the government could hire local companies including roofing companies, local architects and even concrete suppliers to provide ready mixed concrete so the projects can get underway and be completed as fast as possible. Companies like Mixit that were not adversely affected by the pandemic and that still have their doors open are the best option of getting this project going. MixIt provides an array of services including concrete pumping, flooring options and concrete blocks to be used in residential and commercial projects.
The format discussed above can be extended countrywide to serve other areas. This is likely to be easy as the government recently ordered that local governments have projects ready and most of them are ready with projects that ministers can fund right now.
There Is a Case for This Intervention
If the government does not act boldly and decisively right now, the effects of this pandemic and the predicted depression will be devastating. This intervention is meant to shield people from that reality while ensuring the government can make back what it spends.
While there may be some objection from private developers that this intervention could slow down the introduction of new building schemes to the market, that might not be the case. The cheap financing options and guaranteed buyers would incentivise developers to bring their own projects forward. If these projects start on time, the government would not have to intervene in such schemes meaning the developers would benefit most.
The government needs to put these interventions in place right now because if it does not, there are lots of viable sites where work will not commence if the depression that is predicted eventually comes. By doing this, the government can create jobs, meet the demand for affordable housing, and give the economy the jumpstart it desperately needs.