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Effective September 1, 2012, contributors  of the NHT who qualify for loans at 3 per cent interest will now only repay at 1 per cent, while contributors who qualify for loans at 5 per cent will now pay only 3 per cent. These special reduced rates will apply for three years.

This was announced Tuesday June 5, by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller,  during her presentation in the 2012/13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, under the theme: ‘A Mission with a Vision’.

(Related Story: Beneficiaries to Benefit From Tax Relief Granted To NHT)

Also effective on September 1, hotel workers who earn $10,000 per week or less and who have applied for an NHT mortgage during the next three years will receive a one per cent reduction below the normal rate.

“The one per cent interest rate reduction for public sector workers, which was originally due to expire on March 31 next year, has been extended to March 31, 2015. Contributors will therefore enjoy that benefit for two additional years,” Mrs. Simpson Miller  pointed out.

In the meantime, the NHT will introduce a new Mortgage Partner Policy aimed at more affluent contributors.  These are settled homeowners who typically do not apply for their refunds and who do not anticipate accessing a benefit from the NHT. 

“They may, however, have a trusted friend, family member or caregiver or gardener, helper or staff member they would want to help.  The mortgage partner will forego their NHT homeowner benefit, but can qualify for a Home Improvement loan after 15 years. The mortgage beneficiary who is assisted can also access a Home Grant, if eligible, to improve their affordability,” the Prime Minister informed.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also stated that the Government is making a commitment to give suitable housing lands to the NHT to add to their land bank, in furtherance of their housing programmes.

To this end, within the next two months, the NHT will be advertising three new developments, for which subsidies will be announced.  They are: 918 solutions in Longville Phase 3, Clarendon; 259 serviced lots, Perth one, Mandeville, Manchester; and 140 serviced lots in Creighton Hall, St. Thomas.

The NHT will also contribute $10 million this year to the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) for its administration of training, certification and employment promotion.

“Youth in NHT schemes, including those in the inner cities, will benefit from this training programme. It will seek to facilitate greater impact of sweat-equity in home construction,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The NHT will also continue its recently introduced practice of allocating up to 15 per cent of its scheme solutions to young professionals.

“These are real, tangible solutions to provide better living conditions and a sense of pride and dignity for our people.  The NHT will also be considering more housing solutions for the middle income,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.

                                                           

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter