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KINGSTON — National Housing Trust (NHT) Managing Director, Cecile Watson, says the agency is seeking to fulfill the mandate of its Vision 2015 strategy, of delivering close to 30,000 affordable housing solutions to contributors over the next four years.

Speaking at the NHT's Roundtable Discussions at their New Kingston office on Wednesday (September 14), Mrs. Watson said the Trust's plans to deliver 28,880 solutions over the period, will require an approximately 72 per cent increase in expenditure.

She said this would result in the figure increasing from $75 billion, over the last five years, to $129 billion for the projected period.  Of this sum, $28 billion is expected to be spent during the 2011/12 fiscal year, $7 billion more than last year.

Mrs. Watson said in undertaking the developments, efforts will be made to make approximately 50 per cent of the solutions affordable to NHT contributors in the two lowest weekly income earning bands, ranging from the minimum wage of $4,070 per week to $10,000 per week. 

"We will be seeking to do this, while reducing the real cost of solutions by 10 per cent. We believe that this is achievable, so we anticipate a significant uptake in construction activities, which is very important as a key driver of economic growth for this nation," she assured.

Mrs. Watson pointed out, however, that the NHT's ability to deliver would be contingent on the effectiveness and efficiency of its outputs.

"We need to eliminate waste of time and of money. We need to strive to be more efficient and more effective in the work that we do, and to make sure that it counts for something," she said.

"We need to make every dollar count, to create value. Indeed, it means that it is not (going to be) business as usual," she added, while citing the need for private sector partners to give consideration to similar imperatives.

Noting that Jamaica was at a "critical juncture" in its development, Mrs. Watson contended that the mettle of the nation's leaders and citizens is being tested.  She cited the need for persons to resist "natural human tendency" to be self-serving, and seek to embrace the principles of "neighbourliness" through improved collaboration, cooperation and compromise. 

The forum, attended by a wide cross-section of private and public sector stakeholders in the housing sector,  facilitated  presentations on the delivery of more affordable housing solutions to the market.

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter