Prime Minister Skerrit announces new housing initiative during presentation of 2010-2011 budget

skerrit_parlRoseau, Dominica – July 14, 2010………. The Government of Dominica is continuing to make housing more affordable to the people of the Dominica with the announcement by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit of a new $10 million mortgage facility to be funded through Petro Caribe and administered by the AID Bank.

The Prime Minister made the disclosure when he delivered a $440.3 million Budget to Parliament on Tuesday.

According to the Prime Minister, the new mortgage facility will target individuals with a gross income of not more than $3000.00 per month or not more than for $4000.00 in the case of a couple. The applicable rate of interest will be between 4 and 5 percent on the reducing balance.

“In addition to providing new mortgages for residential construction, the new facility will also provide financing for the improvement in the existing housing stock in the country, particularly in urban centres, and finance the development of serviced lots on lands owned by the state as identified by the Cabinet,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

The new mortgage facility is expected to become effective in September, 2010.

This new mortgage facility builds on the several housing initiatives launched by the Government since the launch of the Housing Revolution programme by Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit in 2007.

The Government’s Housing Revolution Programme is being financed largely through grant funding from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and from local resources.

A total of forty-seven (47) individuals benefited from a Special $5 million Mortgage facility at the AID Bank at an interest rate of 5%. Another forty-nine (49) individuals benefited from an amount of $7 million which was placed by the Government at the Government Housing Loans Board at an interest rate of 4%.

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the housing revolution intensified with the completion of housing units in Bellevue Chopin (11), Carib Territory (41) and Hillsborough Gardens in St. Joseph (30). New technologies were also introduced in the sector with the completion of 5 prefabricated houses in Bellevue Rawle under the Urban Renewal programme.

Under the Petro Casa initiative, fifty (50) houses are being constructed. At Portsmouth and Stock Farm, work is at an advanced stage, while the sub-projects at Lily Valley in Trafalgar and Grand Bay are progressing satisfactorily. The Petro Casa houses are being constructed with assistance from the Venezuelan government.

In 2009-2010, under the National Housing Renovation and Sanitation Programme, in excess of $6 million was spent to assist over 751 families in 38 communities.

In fiscal year 2009-2010, under the Squatter Regularisation Programme an additional ninety-two (92) squatters were regularised in Castle Bruce, Fond Cole, Yam Piece, Ravine Bernard and Soufriere.

“Madam Speaker, no one can dispute Government’s success in the housing sector. The housing programme will continue to address the needs of the poor, elderly and vulnerable as well as middle income earners. The construction of low income housing will continue in the Carib Territory, while new areas, such as Cotton Hill in Portsmouth and Union Estate in Point Michel are earmarked for development,” Prime Minister Skerrit concluded.

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