JIS News

Chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT), Howard Mitchell, has proposed that a study be conducted to determine exactly what form the Trust should take.
The suggestion was made Wednesday (September 8), during a meeting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), which is reviewing the recommendations made by the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU) for modernising the public sector.
One of PSTU’s recommendations is that the Trust be transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to the housing portfolio in the Ministry of Water and Housing.
However, Mr. Mitchell contended that such a move would not be in the best interest of the NHT. He also felt that the public sector restructuring exercise provided the opportunity to re-examine the operations of the Trust.
“We are inviting the Committee to support our recommendation that a study be undertaken, to examine whether the nature of the Trust might not be changed to look at the Trust being a wholesaler of mortgage financing,” he appealed
Another alternative model proposed by the NHT Chairman was that the Trust be given more independence, with the entity reporting directly to a joint select committee of Parliament. He also suggested that the NHT could be made a legal trust with trustees appointed by the Governor General, for example.
“We feel that the relevance of the Trust would be better preserved in one of these alternative positions,” he said.
Lamenting that the backlog of housing is about a quarter million, he argued that independence of the NHT would allow it more freedom to strategically link with entities, such as building societies, banks and private developers, to more efficiently tackle the housing problem.
However, Mr. Mitchell recommended that, in the meantime, the NHT remain within the OPM, while the options are being examined. He said that it would be best that the Trust stand alone than be joined with a sectoral interest, such as the Housing Ministry.

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