House Passes Bill to Allow Withdrawal from NHT

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, addresses the House of Representatives on June 28.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is to continue withdrawing $11.4 billion annually from the National Housing Trust (NHT) to support the budget for the next four years.
  • Legislation to effect this was passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (June 28).
  • In his remarks, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw said the Government has decided to continue the withdrawal as one of the revenue measures adopted to support the Government’s budget for fiscal year 2017/18.

The Government is to continue withdrawing $11.4 billion annually from the National Housing Trust (NHT) to support the budget for the next four years.

Legislation to effect this was passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (June 28).

The National Housing Trust (Amendment) (Special Provisions) Bill was piloted by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

In his remarks, Minister Shaw said the Government has decided to continue the withdrawal as one of the revenue measures adopted to support the Government’s budget for fiscal year 2017/18.

“This measure is to continue for another four years and the financing provided will be by way of distribution, grant or otherwise as may be determined by the Minister of Finance,” he explained.

He noted that while the Government reluctantly opted to continue this revenue measure, “the rationale is that without this measure being put in place, the Government will be forced to levy even more new taxes, to the already high tax burden on Jamaicans.”

Mr. Shaw added that without the revenue measure, the Government will be forced to cut expenditure on important programmes which are of great benefit to the country.

“This measure must be viewed against the background of fundamental tax reform as well, that is the continued shift from direct to indirect taxation….for purposes of equity and the need to create the breathing space over the medium term to undertake public spending reforms, which will take time to implement and the benefit of which will only occur over the medium term,” he said.

The NHT drawdown will continue until the financial year ending March 31, 2021.

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