KINGSTON — The National Housing Trust (NHT) plans to establish a Foundation using a maximum of 50 per cent of unclaimed contribution refunds to support specific causes that are considered to be in the public interest.
This was announced by Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding during his contribution to the 2011/2012 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, today.
Mr. Golding said that four projects have been identified to benefit this year, including improvement of the conditions in golden age homes and infirmaries through physical upgrading and the provision of training for the staff of these institutions, particularly in enabling them to properly care for residents with special needs.
“Similar improvements are to be carried out in our children’s homes, including the provision of equipment, training and support services,” he said.
The other projects entail improving the living quarters provided at police stations for police personnel; and providing a maximum of $25 million each year to assist luminaries who have previously represented Jamaica internationally and are now faced with challenges.
“Presently, there is a total of $1.2 billion that has remained unclaimed for more than 10 years. The Foundation will, therefore, have immediately available up to $600 million,” he informed.
Additional funds will accrue to the Foundation each year as more unclaimed contributions mature beyond 10 years, Mr. Golding noted.
Mr. Golding said the NHT's Board has “decided to do something special for the nation,” in commemoration of its 35th anniversary this year, hence the proposed establishment of the Foundation.
The Prime Minister explained that contributors are entitled to their contribution refunds after seven years, and although most persons submit their claims and receive their refunds, a significant sum remains unclaimed for periods in excess of 10 years and, from experience, is unlikely to be reclaimed.
The Prime Minister lauded the NHT for being “a good corporate citizen contributing significant sums to support communities and national causes, such as education, training and sports."
In the meantime, Mr. Golding informed that last year, the NHT started 3,056 houses and it is projected that 5,256 will commence this fiscal year. A further 2,239 houses were completed last year, while some 4,409 are expected to be completed this fiscal year. In addition, the organisation issued 7,071 mortgage loans last year, and it is projected that 8,574 will be issued this year.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter