The recently appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) Lelon Saul has started to coordinate the studies and information that are resident within the housing authority to assist in the preparation and compilation of government’s white paper for its new housing programme.
This is according to Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, who is expected to table the white paper, in the National Assembly very soon.
The white paper will provide the National Assembly with a clear understanding of what the government is seeking to achieve with its new housing programme. It will provide information pertaining to the construction techniques, the method of payment for units, mortgage arrangement for recipients and the criteria for allocation, among others.
Minister Bulkan told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the white paper would speak to all of the lessons that would have been learnt in the recent past. “It would seek to take advantage of both the successes and having identified what were the deficiencies or failure out of that past policy, it would identify what would be the strategic direction and where the government’s priority should be,” the minister explained.
The preparation of the white paper is in keeping with the new data driven policy of outlining and planning development in the housing sector. The minister explained that this absence of having timely and reliable data in relation to the usefulness of the inherited housing programme, resulted in inaction of the CH&PA in 2016. The minister explained that the previous board of the CH&PA, as part of critically reviving and evaluating the housing programme that was inherited, needed to satisfy themselves that continuation of the programme was in the best national interest.
“They (do) not feel compelled on the basis of business as usual and to continue the programme that (was) inherited and …it is not an approach that I could find fault in, because once these resources are committed and the funds are spent, it cannot be recalled,” the minister highlighted.
He noted that the extraordinary high rate of un-occupancy rate in many of the government schemes was reason enough for the board to question, and have a second look at the continuation of the inherited programme and to look at having a different housing priority.
“It is a result of that examination that the resources are now on hand that they can be committed to this first phase of the construction of housing units,” the minister pointed out.
As part of ensuring proper planning for housing development, the CH&PA recently concluded a housing profile.
The Housing Authority is also working with the Inter-American Development Bank to support the development of a national housing strategy, which in addition to ensuring that the housing needs of the public are properly identified, will reaffirm government’s trust and confidence that it is moving in the right direction, with regards to its national housing programme.