Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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HDC mortgages to be fast-tracked
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal says the Housing Development Corporation will fast-track mortgages through T&T Mortgage Finance, whilst retaining a two per cent interest rate on subsidised housing. Speaking to reporters after making a donation of 100 chairs and 25 sponges to the Bheikee Dass Shiva Mandir at Sir Lamont Avenue, San Fernando, yesterday, Moonilal said subsidies on houses will also remain in the 2013-2014 fiscal budget.
He said there will also be accelerated construction of houses at Fairfield, Eden Gardens, Indian Walk, Union Hall and Egypt Village, as well as an extension of Wellington Gardens in Debe. “We can expect more money for housing in the budget, both through the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and the Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF),” Moonilal said.
“One of the challenges we have is while we do have housing stock to complete and distribute, the lack of financing has been a real problem, because as you know housing has been dependent on the Treasury and once there are problems with funds for completing, the regrettable situation is that we will not complete all of our targeted estates. So we are hoping that we will benefit from increased transfers to the housing sector.”
Moonilal said he was happy that the two per cent interest rate will still be offered. “We are trying to fast-track mortgages through the TTMF as well as the transfer of lands,” he said. “We have been successful in terms of the tangibles through Cabinet. “We have approved the transfer of lands to be vested in HDC in several areas. So it means we can now move into giving people greater security by way of lease.”
He revealed that the transfer of lands from the Estate Management Business Development Company to the HDC meant that its assets have now increased. “HDC is now in a position where it can also borrow from the private market so we have an exciting year ahead in the housing sector,” he said. Moonilal said more than 3,000 housing units had been distributed over the last year.
“We distributed six houses a day. Demand is so much, we have not had regular public distributions,” he said. He explained that after the budget, the UNC will begin screening for the October 21 local government elections. “There is an agenda for screening and campaigning and we shall see in the coming days that screening will be a priority,” he said. “I believe there will be a lot of hours to be spent on screening because of the number of councillors.
“We have not yet put a date for screening because we are consumed with the budget.” The minister also said a state-of-the-art police and army post will be opened at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, in mid-September to deal with the upsurge of crime in that area.
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