Thu | Jan 19, 2017

NHT $1.3b behind on housing spend

Published:Sunday | October 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The National Housing Trust (NHT) said last Tuesday that its planned expenditure on housing is tracking more than a billion dollars behind last year, but insists it will previous levels of investment despite its $11.4 billion contribution to the treasury during this and the next two fiscal years.

"After five months in the current financial year, NHT's housing expenditure was $1.3 billion less than projected," said the state agency in responses channelled through its communications department.

But: "Based on projections the trust will continue to sufficiently fund its housing programmes in the short and medium term, while contributing to the Consolidated Fund," it said.

To assist the cash-strapped Government, the NHT has been tapped as a source of support up to fiscal year end March 2017.

In return, the agency gets its pick of state-owned lands to be used for future housing development. In May, NHT said it has been promised 300 acres of land at Ebony Park in St Catherine as the first batch of a number of properties to be tapped by the agency, and was searching for another 250 acres deemed compatible with its National Spatial Plan.

The Trust said it expects to obtain more properties atop the 550 acres already scouted, but did not disclose the total acreages to be tapped for addition to its more than 15,00-acre property reserve.

The NHT said its financing and housing programmes remained unaffected by the diversion of funds to the treasury, including developer lending, NHT built schemes, land bank development, and other solutions and programmes.

"Over the past five years to fiscal 2013/14, NHT said it has spent $21.5 billion annually on housing.

Going forward to 2016/17, its projections for housing spend is $22.1 billion annually, the agency said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com