NHT behind in disbursing grants to low income earners
The National Housing Trust (NHT) has admitted that it is not on target with the disbursement of subsidies and grants to contributors for the first quarter of the new financial year.
The Trust says it is lagging behind in the disbursement of subsidies and grants by $50 million.
Martin Miller, acting managing director of NHT, told members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament last Wednesday that contributors who earn less than $10,000 per week and make contributions for more than 10 years can access $1.2 million in grants.
The NHT head pointed out that this grant is disbursed on a first-come basis. However, chairman of the PAAC Edmund Bartlett expressed surprise that there was a build-up of money for grants at a time when there should be a great demand for this subsidy.
In terms of disbursement for housing, the NHT said it is behind its projected target by $316 million. "What we have seen is a slowing down of activities in terms of activities on the build-on-own-land side of our business, and also on the construction side," Miller said.
On the question of arrears, Miller said 19.7 per cent of the 103,902 mortgage accounts are in arrears for more than 90 days totalling $2 billion.
The NHT executive said in the case of a loss of income, the Trust provides a 24-month moratorium for mortgagors. "Selling to recover is a last resort, so we will go to lengths to work with you so that when the decision is made to go that route we have no other option," he added.
Miller said in most cases when the NHT moves to auction houses to recover amounts owed, mortgagors would have been in arrears for more than 360 days.
He said the NHT has recently introduced debt collectors, a move that is still under review by the Trust.
Bartlett suggested that the housing agency should consider selling its mortgage debt, an idea that did not receive support from permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller, and committee member Mike Henry.