“The cavalier approach of the Government in attempting to amend the Housing Trust Act is intolerable. Instead of clearly showing the country the impact of the proposed changes and engaging the people of the country to find solutions which does not run afoul of the law, the Minister of Finance seems determined to take the ‘my way or the high way approach to run wid it’, without proper assessment and dialogue”, said G2K President, Floyd Green. The response came in relation to the Bill laid in Parliament yesterday to amend the National Housing Trust Act in an attempt to ‘legalize’ the removal of 45 billion dollars over four years.
The organisation noted that the National Housing Trust, which was first a part of the National Insurance Scheme, has over the years been critical in assisting young professionals in owning their own home. Without the Government sharing the impact of the move, the organization is therefore concerned that the move will result in an increase in interest rates and a freeze on the level of benefits, making it more difficult for Jamaicans, in particular young professionals, to own property.
“Not only does the move from all indications appear to be illegal, but it is detrimental to the dreams and aspirations of our young people. We should not be having discussions on the move without the Board presenting a comprehensive actuarial study indicating the impact and how it will be mitigated” added Green
Generation 2000 is therefore calling upon the Minister of Finance to have an actuarial study of the impact of the proposal laid before parliament. The organization is also suggesting that the Government explore the option of providing the National Housing Trust with suitable land amounting to the value of the proposed draw down over the years.
“Not only is the Government the largest owner of land in the country, the Government also owns prime building space in urban areas which could be transferred to the trust for them to convert to lower and middle income apartment complexes to alleviate the housing demand in these areas” said Green