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Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., making his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 4).
Photo: Adrian Walker

Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., has hailed the construction industry for being a pillar in Jamaica during the last 12 months.

While countries in the world continue to experience downturns with some of their sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction sector in Jamaica has remained resilient.

During his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House on Tuesday (May 4), Mr.  Charles Jr. said the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) and the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited (HAJ) have contributed significantly to this success.

The JMB is driven to mobilise financial resources for on-lending to private and public-sector developers and financial institutions. It is also tasked with developing an active secondary mortgage market and providing mortgage indemnity insurance in support of the national settlement goal.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, the JMB surpassed its budgeted pre-tax profits by 11 per cent. This was due to the Bank’s balance sheet remaining strong and boasting year-on-year growth in its construction loan portfolio of more than 50 per cent.

For the 2019/2020 financial year, the JMB had 15 projects totalling 333 Solutions under management.

“This year, we will continue the efforts for privatisation, and we can make good news of the efforts of JMB… as they remain committed to maintaining the profit in that institution,” the Minister said.

“The JMB is a critical part of our national economic recovery and they have given significant support in this time to the robust construction sector, which has held up and has been one pillar throughout this downturn,” he added.

With regard to the HAJ, it has accomplished a number of successful projects through joint venture agreements with private partners.

The most recent of such projects are the Edmund Ridge Estates (formerly Rhyne Park) in St. James, sales for which have commenced and which will see many tourism workers in Jamaica’s north coast accessing formal housing for the very first time.

Accomplishments by the HAJ also include 535 Brownfield Solutions at Grange Pen, St. James; 400 Solutions at Edmund Ridge Estate (Rhyne Park); 50 Serviced Lots at Mona (Section 1) and 350 solutions at Catherine Estates (Phase 1).

The Minister acknowledged the work of outgoing Managing Director, Gary Howell, from HAJ.

“He has given sterling service to the Housing Agency. I think it’s more than 26 years of service,” he said.

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