HAJ Managing Director Tells Public Accounts Committee That the Agency Has Been Turned Around

Story Highlights

  • Managing Director of the Housing Agency of Jamaica Gary Howell in responding to questions from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament recently, stated that under the leadership of the current Board of Directors and a new management team, dramatic changes have been made to turn around the Agency’s operations, resulting in a return to profitability last fiscal year.
  • These changes were presented in an update provided to the Auditor General in January and included: Centralizing records management, Implementing industry best practices, Procuring higher quality contractors, Outsourcing large designs and employing more experienced engineers and project managers.
  • Mr. Howell also informed the PAC that the Agency had signed an $802 million contract in April, 2011 for the construction of 99 housing solutions and 159 service lots in Boscobel, St. Mary.

Managing Director of the Housing Agency of Jamaica Gary Howell in responding to questions from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament recently, stated that under the leadership of the current Board of Directors and a new management team, dramatic changes have been made to turn around the Agency’s operations, resulting in a return to profitability last fiscal year.

These changes were presented ian update provided to the Auditor General in January and included:
Centralizing records management, Implementing industry best practices, Procuring higher quality contractors, Outsourcing large designs and employing more experienced engineers and project managers.

Mr. Howell also informed the PAC that the Agency had signed an $802 million contract in April, 2011 for the construction of 99 housing solutions and 159 service lots in Boscobel, St. Mary.

He acknowledged that this housing development, known as The Hills of Boscobel, suffered from large time and cost overruns caused by poor initial designs, which led to significant changes during construction. This in turn contributed to substantial losses which were detailed in the Auditor General’s report in 2015.

Despite these setbacks however, Mr. Howell noted that HAJ had made significant progress in its overall performance in fiscal year 2016/17. The Agency reported an audited profit of $183.72M for the fiscal year and the improved performance has continued over the current year 2017/18.

The net assets of the HAJ at the end of November 2017 stood at $1.22 Billion, an increase of $.575 Billion when compared with March 2017. This is a significant improvement in the Agency’s value.

The increase in equity represents a year to date unaudited profit of $.502 Billion due mainly to sale of lots at the Vistas and houses at the Savannah cluster of the Vistas of Runaway Bay development in St. Ann.

The continued improved performance of the Agency’s operations has resulted in improved cash flow, and as at November 30, 2017 the net cash inflow stood at $196.47M.

Through strategic partnerships, and the engagement of targeted communities, the Agency has retooled its systems to improve its financial capability, as it continues to provide housing solutions for low and middle income earners and regularize informal communities.

Mr. Howell concluded that the HAJ’s leadership is working diligently to ensure that it remains viable and continues to fulfill its mandate to the Jamaican people.

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