Gov’t look­ing to hous­ing con­struc­tion for growth

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - An­dré Poyser Staff Re­porter an­dre.poyser@glean­

PRIME MIN­IS­TER An­drew Hol­ness has sig­nalled that the Govern­ment will be in­sti­tut­ing ma­jor re­forms in the res­i­den­tial hous­ing mar­ket in hopes that a con­struc­tion boom will drive eco­nomic growth.

Speak­ing dur­ing the launch of the Na­tional Hous­ing Trust (NHT) Best Schemes Com­pe­ti­tion at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre last Fri­day, Hol­ness said hous­ing de­vel­op­ment within the con­struc­tion in­dus­try is be­ing tar­geted as the key sec­tor for the Govern­ment’s growth agenda.

Hol­ness’ op­ti­mism about the abil­ity of the con­struc­tion in­dus­try to drive growth co­in­cides with views ex­pressed by econ­o­mist and for­mer head of the Plan­ning In­sti­tute of Ja­maica, Colin Bul­lock, who, in a re­cent Gleaner Growth and Jobs fea­ture, ar­gued that the prospects for the con­struc­tion in­dus­try can be en­hanced by con­certed ef­forts to ex­pand res­i­den­tial hous­ing, ef­forts which Hol­ness wants the NHT to ad­vance.

“The Govern­ment’s vi­sion ... is to have an or­gan­i­sa­tion that fa­cil­i­tates the build­ing of houses, to fa­cil­i­tate the fi­nanc­ing of hous­ing ac­qui­si­tion and hous­ing de­vel­op­ment,” the prime min­is­ter said in ad­dress­ing a re­form process of the NHT, which he said is cur­rently un­der way.


He had pre­vi­ously an­nounced that the Govern­ment would be en­gag­ing in a re­view of the NHT aimed at im­prov­ing the abil­ity of the agency to de­liver on its man­date of pro­vid­ing af­ford­able hous­ing. The re­view was also an­nounced against the back­drop of funds be­ing di­verted from the NHT, by suc­ces­sive ad­min­is­tra­tions, to be used for pur­poses other than in­tended.

Hol­ness ar­gued that the re­view is nec­es­sary be­cause the NHT has not been do­ing as much as it could to drive im­prove­ments in the hous­ing and con­struc­tion sec­tor.

“The re­form process, I hope, will not take too long, but the growth agenda is an­chored on the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. Build­ing houses is an im­por­tant part of the con­struc­tion in­dus­try,” he added.

The prime min­is­ter fur­ther noted that the NHT would be en­gaged in re­plac­ing the hous­ing stock of the Kingston Metropoli­tan Area.

“We have to build houses for the young grad­u­ates com­ing up. We have to build houses to re­place some of the hous­ing stock that has just to­tally de­te­ri­o­rated. When you fly over Ja­maica and over down­town Kingston, and you look at the hous­ing stock from a bird’s-eye view, you recog­nise how im­por­tant it is to have the NHT fa­cil­i­tate a process of re­gen­er­a­tion ... . We share your dream of see­ing the NHT lead the hous­ing revo­lu­tion in Ja­maica,” he said.


Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness speaks with Ray­mond Leonard (cen­tre) and Steven Whynn (right) of the Bel­rock com­mu­nity in St Thomas dur­ing the launch of the Best Schemes Com­pe­ti­tion for 2016-2017, held last Fri­day at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in down­town Kingston.

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