Not satisfied with taking $45B from the NHT over a four year period, the Portia Simpson Miller led administration is once again seeking to hijack the funds in the NHT to regain some measure of popularity with the deluded “poor” and public sector workers .
I will point out a few things that really concerns me and these needs to be addressed by public commentators and financial analyst, who needs to make public their views so the average person can understand what is going on.
May 1, 2013 – Jamaica Gleaner
This comment has been attributed to the current chairman of the NHT in the Jamaica Gleaner, Wed , May 1, 2013.
He said the NHT does its analysis of its financial position on a regular basis.
“Even when we were called upon for this $11.4 billion, we had already analysed what if we should be called upon to do this,” Douglas said.
Feb 22, 2013 Jamaica Gleaner
The Chairman of the NHT Easton Douglas was reported to have said then:
Yesterday, Douglas and Cecile Watson, the managing director of the NHT, when pressed about the impact of the withdrawal on the trust’s balance sheet, said sufficient analysis has not been done to provide such forecasting.
“We have not done the calculations,” Douglas insisted.
He, however, said that based on historical trends, the board is confident that it would have funds to carry out its normal operations
I am not sure how one reconcile the statement made in February and the which was made yesterday but clearly someone is not telling Jamaicans the truth and we will have to ferret out that based on statements made then and now.
Source : Jamaica Gleaner April 23, 2010.
This is what said about the Inner City Renewal Project by the then Chairman of the NHT, Howard Mitchell as reported in the Jamaica Gleaner .
According to Mitchell, the NHT is facing a 37 per cent delinquency rate, as many persons granted houses under the inner-city programme are not meeting their monthly mortgage payments.
He said while evicting persons would be a last resort, the trust is implementing measures to collect the mortgages.
“We are working with the people in the communities to meet their commitments but we can’t throw them out of the house,” Mitchell told the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing held Wednesday at Jamaica House.
“It is not that these people don’t want to work, they want to work and if they get jobs they will work,” added Mitchell as he indicated that the NHT was close to signing a contract to complete the Inner-City Housing Programme in the South West St Andrew community of Majesty Gardens. (That constituency is represented by Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller)
Source : Jamaica Gleaner May 1, 2013
He(Douglas) said that unlike the last bite of the ICHP, in which two-bedroom homes were constructed in four-storey apartment buildings, the rebirthed programme would see a combination of detached housing units such as studios.
Douglas, while saying he was not able to provide data on compliance yesterday, also indicated “it has improved substantially from the point of view of compliance in the payment of mortgages”.
The current Chairman CANNOT provide a single data point to back up his assertions and if he can we have not yet seen any such data as by virtue of his words, the analysis has not been done and so most of what he says appears to be based on GUT feeling vs verifiable data that has been collected and detailed analysis that has been completed.
Is this how we run a country, is this the type of behaviour we should expect and accept from a person placed in a position to oversee and manage billions of dollars of tax payers money.
The role of the politician in Jamaica traditionally been to announce plans without any methodology to ensure these plans are viable and or sustainable and they( the politicians) can and have been allowed to get away with this for years. (For obvious reasons)
We cannot however allow a chairman and the board of a public cash rich organization such as the NHT to play to the whims and fancy of any political leader be it the PM or otherwise and simply be yes man to whatever initiative has been announced without the requite financial analysis to accomodate such plans.
The ICHP was stopped during the last JLP administration partly for political reasons( my views here ) as well as for financial reasons, due to the adverse effect it was likely to have on the financial health of the fund ( based on public available information).
During the JLP administration unemployment increased , which means there would have been less people in a position to pay their mortgages based solely on the fact that they have no income. PSM spoke about that and how Bruce promised job, jobs, jobs, but only provided , jabs, jabs, jabs.
Since the PNP came to power the unemployment rate has continued to rise based on many factors including the gross mismanagement of the affairs of the country by the PNP as well as external factors , but the former that the later.
This year, given the precipitous slide in the exchange rate as well as two JDX in a single mth and the financial losses to many organization, companies have signaled their intent to cut jobs to lower cost.
This therefore means a further increase in the number of unemployed persons in the country, but what’s does this have to do with the NHT.
The implications and likely impact on the PNP plans.
- Less jobs means lower inflows to NHT for obvious reasons, given that NHT funds are deducted at source . This means NHT will see less funds coming in as long at the current economic climate prevails.
- Less jobs will more than likely lead to an increase in the delinquency rate, which once again means less income to the NHT .
It there is puzzling to me for the NHT to realistically do what the PM has announced in budget speech namely :
- Increased loan amount for serviced lots from $1.0 to $2.5m
- Extension of the 1% reduction in interest rates for another 2 years
- 15% reduction in peril insurance rates for public sector workers.
I have not had the chance to go through her entire presentation and so this piece is really not complete, so I may add to or create another thread when I have had a chance to review what she said.
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