The Government of Jamaica has once again decided to access funds from the National Housing Trust (NHT) to support the national budget.
The thing is, the current administration actually spoke out vehemently against this when they were in Opposition. What
On March 10, 2017, Finance Minister Audley Shaw is quoted in the Jamaica Gleaner as saying:
“We don’t see it as a raid. It’s part of a package and total plan that is yielding greater benefits to hundreds of thousands of people. That’s not a raid!”
Lol…really? It isn’t?
Picture it: Jamaica, 2012
“The Government is to dip into the coffers of the National Housing Trust (NHT) to help to fund the budget.
“The NHT is being called upon to contribute $4 billion dollars…
“Yesterday, opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw warned the government not to raid the NHT.” – Jamaica Gleaner, May 24, 2012
Here’s what Mr. Shaw was quoted as saying:
“I am hearing reports that (Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips) is planning to raid the NHT to close the financing gap and that is going to be a major source of concern to the Opposition.” – Mr. Audley Shaw, then Opp. Spokesperson on Finance quoted in The Jamaica Gleaner, May 24, 2012
Opposition criticism of these actions on the NHT funds didn’t stop there:
“I am surprised at the IMF that they are supporting this kind of scandalous raid on a trust fund… I am surprised that the IMF is prepared to join with the Government in this tax package that has no rhyme or reason except to attack the productive sector.” – Mr. Audley Shaw quoted in The Jamaica Gleaner, February 14, 2013
Opposition Spokesman on Housing Dr. Horace Chang is advising the Government to find alternative sources of funding instead of taking money from the National Housing Trust.
He believes a drawdown on NHT funds will ultimately lead to an increase in the interest rates paid by mortgagers.
Dr. Chang says while he is cognizant of the Government’s fiscal challenges, taking money from the NHT’s surplus and increasing interest rates will have consequences.
He says increasing interest rates will put pressure on middle income earners who he notes are already burdened.
Opposition Parliamentarian, Pearnel Charles, has raised concern about the government’s decision to raid the National Housing Trust (NHT) for budgetary support.
Contributing to the Sectoral Debate in parliament yesterday he pointed out that about 70 per cent of NHT contributors are unable to access a mortgage from the Trust.
He lamented that the money to be taken from the NHT is not taxes due to the government but money employees have worked hard to contribute.
Charles said he’s hurt by what he has described as the confiscation of workers’ money.
He has urged the government to ensure that the money taken from the NHT is returned to contributors.
A raid on the NHT by any other name, Mr. Shaw, is just as “scandalous”.
– @MizDurie; @ThinkJamaica