KINGSTON, Jamaica - Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Housing Trust (NHT) is "working assiduously" to fulfil its commitment to deliver approximately 42,000 of the 70,000 housing solutions being targeted for development by the Government.
The prime minister, who has portfolio responsibility for the NHT, says based on handovers he has done, “they would have already delivered over 1,000 houses; [that is] keys handed over [to new homeowners].”
“But they have in the ground a significant number; I would say… about 10,000. So, they are working,” Holness said. He was speaking during the recent official opening and handover of keys for the NHT’s Ruthven Towers apartment complex in New Kingston.
Holness said consequent on the demand for housing, the NHT was given a “very simple” policy directive to “build house” and increase its output of affordable solutions year on year.
“So, for the first four years of this Administration, the NHT more than doubled… in fact… more than tripled… the number of housing solutions that they brought to market,” he advised, describing this outturn as significant.
The Prime Minister said 70,000 houses are being targeted because “we believe that if we can get [this number] onto the market, it will ease the demands.”
“It will slow down the decades of unabated irregular and illegal settlement of land. It will slow down the chaotic development of communities across Jamaica, which just spring up overnight and then place a demand on [the] government to retroactively catch up with infrastructure, security, health, and education,” the Prime Minister added.
He pointed out, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic “had an impact on our ability to move these projects along very quickly.” This, he said had manifested in terms of the disruption of supply chains, the increased cost of materials and “an impending recession that could be hitting many of the developed countries, and the impact that that could have on investor decisions locally.”
“So, the pandemic and the after effects are having an impact on our ability to deliver these houses within the time specified. But, nevertheless, the NHT, I can tell you, is working assiduously,” Holness assured.