Commission Recommends Merger of NHT and HAJ

Photo: Michael Sloley Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), is presented with a copy of a report on the strategic review of the National Housing Trust (NHT) by Chairman of the entity, Ambassador Dr. Nigel Clarke, during a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, today (November 7). Ambassador Clarke was accompanied by other members of the Commission.

Story Highlights

  • A Special Commission reviewing the operations of the National Housing Trust (NHT) has proposed the merger of the entity with the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).
  • Mr. Holness, who was briefed on the report by Chairman of the NHT, Ambassador Dr. Nigel Clarke, said he is also pleased that recommendations were made regarding strengthening of the governance structure of the entity, as well as using the NHT to address the issue of informal settlements by increasing the pace at which housing solutions are provided.
  • The review of the NHT involved robust discussions with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including individuals from the financial services; NHT employees, customers and beneficiaries; former Chairmen of the NHT Board; multilateral organisations, and the Opposition.

A Special Commission reviewing the operations of the National Housing Trust (NHT) has proposed the merger of the entity with the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ).

This is among several recommendations coming out of the Commission’s report on the strategic review of the NHT, which was undertaken to improve the efficiency of the entity.

The report was handed over to Prime Minister, the Most Hon Andrew Holness, by Commission members during a meeting at his offices in Kingston, today (November 7).

Mr. Holness, who appointed the Commission in July last year, said the report fits the mandate of the Government to improve the NHT’s capacity to provide affordable housing solutions for Jamaicans.

“The NHT can be a catalyst to the ownership of housing. The reason why I mandated this report is to give us a road map as to how we can use the NHT (for this purpose more effectively),” he said.

Mr. Holness, who was briefed on the report by Chairman of the NHT, Ambassador Dr. Nigel Clarke, said he is also pleased that recommendations were made regarding strengthening of the governance structure of the entity, as well as using the NHT to address the issue of informal settlements by increasing the pace at which housing solutions are provided.

Another recommendation put forward by the Commission is the privatisation of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank in order for the entity to access private capital to carry out its functions.

“The country should now prepare itself for profound fundamental changes that are beneficial to the NHT and the people of Jamaica,” Mr. Holness emphasised.

The Prime Minister assured that the Government will not implement the recommendations without further consultation.

“It will do the rounds internally with Cabinet and within the Government’s Parliamentary group. We will have bipartisan discussion with the Opposition… and then we will move to a stage of further public discourse of the report. Once we get a sense of what the public is willing to accept, then we will move on to… start implementing some of the policy changes that are recommended,” he said.

The review of the NHT involved robust discussions with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including individuals from the financial services; NHT employees, customers and beneficiaries; former Chairmen of the NHT Board; multilateral organisations, and the Opposition.

It forms part of the strategic National Housing Policy and Implementation Plan to provide the enabling framework within which the Government can realise its goal of access to affordable, safe and legal housing solutions for all Jamaicans by 2030.

The review is also expected to assist in satisfying the demand for housing in a coordinated and economical manner and to respond to the diverse needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable persons within the society.

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