Sunday 23 February, 2020

10,000 housing solutions being targeted by the Gov’t this fiscal year

Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, addressing Parliament (file photo)

Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, addressing Parliament (file photo)

Already boasting that it has built more houses than any administration locally within a single term, the Government has committed to construct another 10,000 units during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

It will be using both the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) to accomplish the target in its bid to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of giving Jamaicans access to safe, sustainable and affordable housing.

This was announced on Tuesday by Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, as he delivered the Throne Speech to mark the start of the new parliamentary year. The Throne Speech outlines the plans of the Government for the next 12 months.

“We need to build enough housing solutions at a rate which will prevent informal settling,” Sir Patrick said. He highlighted that the NHT has widened income bands, increased its loan limit, introduced inter-generational mortgages, and reduced mortgage interest rates by one per cent across the board to improve access to loans and provide support for home ownership.

And Sir Patrick announced that the Government will complete the national Squatter Survey during the year, so it can accurately determine the extent of squatting in the country. It is to also provide pertinent information to guide the completion of the National Squatter Management Policy and Implementation Plan.

Additionally, Sir Patrick said there will be a merger of the Real Estate Board, the Commission of Strata Corporations, and the Registrar of Timeshares, to create the Real Estate Authority of Jamaica.

Meanwhile, the governor general announced that the Government will be embarking on the largest infrastructure programme in over 30 years.

The Greater Infrastructure Development Programme (GIDP), which will replace the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), is to be at the centre of the infrastructure push.

The governor general described the GIDP as a multi-year, comprehensive infrastructure programme which, apart from roads, includes bridges and other structures, street lighting, sidewalks, ramps, traffic lights, water and sewerage, fire hydrants and drainage.

He said the Government will be building out “smart infrastructure” with fibre optics, cameras and sensors designed and embedded into infrastructure assets.

Additionally, the so-called ‘Lengthman Programme’ which Prime Minister Andrew Holness first announced last November, is to serve as a preventative maintenance initiative for rural roads and high-trafficked corridors. It is to revolve around a performance-based system that is technology driven.

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