Govt to continue NHT's contribution to Budget

Govt to continue NHT's contribution to Budget

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The government plans to continue the National Housing Trust's (NHT) annual contribution to the Budget.

Ordinarily, the NHT contribution to Central Government, which began in 2013, would have ended this fiscal year, 2020/21.

However, given the current economic circumstances, the government said it will be necessary to continue these contributions, at the same level, through the economic recovery period.

The Government, as part of a move to increase revenues in 2013, imposed a $15.9-billion tax package and tapped the NHT for a total of $45 billion over the next four years.

Despite expressing the need to find alternative financing in 2017, the current Government eventually decided to continue with the relationship to meet economic challenges.

Successive administrations have insisted that, despite the annual contribution to the budget of $11.4 billion, NHT housing starts have increased dramatically in recent years.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said this morning that this is testimony to the ability to significantly improve NHT housing starts, while the annual contributions are made to Central Government through policy focus.

“So, we have a full range of demand subsidies. But, if houses don't exist at levels people can afford, demand remains unfulfilled,” Dr Clarke noted.

“The government understands this, and the problem is best solved by government intervention that has the effect of increasing the supply of affordable homes,” he told OBSERVER ONLINE.

He added that the Government and the minister of housing are keenly focused on working in partnership with developers, to significantly increase this supply, and the policy focus will be unaffected by the necessary continuation of the NHT contributions to Central Government.

Balford Henry

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