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The Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) is seeking approval from the Ministry of Finance to issue $2 billion worth of tax free shelter bonds.

This was disclosed by  Minister without Portfolio (with responsibility for Housing), Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 10.

Dr. Guy said that the bank has the capacity to mobilise and disburse approximately $5 billion annually; however being mindful of the depressed nature of the sector, a conservative approach is being taken to the bond issue.

The Minister reminded the House, that in 2008 the JMB was granted approval to issue tax-free shelter bonds to fund its investment programmes. "To date, a total of $2 billion has been approved; the last approval of $1 billion was granted in November 2009," he said.

Dr. Guy also noted that the JMB is proposing to commit $2.4 billion for its investment programme for this financial year. He said the JMB is currently in advanced discussions with two major wholesale lending institutions for loan amounts equivalent to $2.5 billion, in the first instance.

"Approvals are expected to be granted before the end of July 2012," the Minister said.

He explained that the funds sourced will be used to help create mortgages and build houses by on-lending to Credit Unions, financial intermediaries and developers as part of the routine operations of the bank.

 

By Andrea Braham