Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Letter of the Day | Suggestions for developing affordable housing

Published:Monday | October 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Further to your lead story on Friday, October 6, 2017, I would like to contribute an additional suggestion. Until we can develop affordable housing for the segment of our population that currently must squat due to resource constraints, we will never have a handle on environmental pollution.

How can we do that? Only by reducing the cost of housing, and I would like to propose the following three options:

1.Properly capitalise the National Water Commission (NWC) so that they can install and provide the necessary sewer and water connections to land developers' property boundaries, and if that is not possible, contribute significantly (minimum of 75 per cent) to the onsite treatment systems.

Currently, if immediate connections are not available, the developer is required to install, at their cost, the necessary connections to NWC existing infrastructure and then turn it over to the NWC free of cost. This is then passed on to the purchaser in the purchase price.

If no connections are available, then the developer must install an onsite treatment system and the cost of this is then passed on to the purchaser in the purchase price. The NWC than makes lifelong revenues from that infrastructure through water and sewage fees, so why shouldn't they pay for the infrastructure in the first place?

2.Eliminate general consumption tax on all building materials and services for affordable housing projects. You can treat the project area like a special economic zone.

3. Significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the stamp duty and transfer tax on all affordable housing title transactions.

Further price reduction options are available and that is best realised by the Government meeting with the land developers and thoroughly examining the line item costs and seeing where the reductions can be facilitated.