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The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) commenced 3,076 shelter solutions at a cost of approximately $1.7 billion, during the last fiscal year.
Making his contribution to the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, today (May 18), Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Chang pointed out that of the number, 1,130 units have been completed.
“Of interest is that the agency’s focus is no longer solely on Brownfield developments (squatter settlements); we have also been placing the spotlight on Greenfield projects (new virgin land). These Greenfield projects have accounted for 1,579 or 51 per cent of the starts last year,” the Minister noted.
Dr. Chang told the House that for the first time since its inception in 1998, the Agency broke even last year, with a profit margin in the range of $150 million as at March 31, 2010.
“As a result of its repositioning, the HAJ is now seen as a credible, viable entity and developers are expressing an interest in partnering with them to construct low cost housing,” he added.
Dr. Chang pointed out that the performance in the last financial year was, to a large extent, due to the collaborative efforts of the Ministry, the National Housing Trust, the National Environment and Planning Agency, the National Water Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the National Contracts Commission.
“This resulted in a large number of approvals being processed in a reasonably short time, and gives credibility to the thrust by the government to institute a ‘One Stop Shop’, as a means of improving efficiencies in the development approval process,” he told the House.