President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that his administration will soon make $2 billion available to assist “vulnerable groups” to acquire loans to build homes.
He also announced the lifting of the ceiling of non-taxable housing loans from $3 million to $8 million to satisfy the great demand of persons who are attempting to have their own homes.
Speaking at a press conference at the Office of the President, the President said his administration would set aside some $2 billion to assist vulnerable groups such as the aged, single parents “and other groups who find it very hard to get loans from the banking sector because of their particular vulnerability and not satisfying the requirements of the banks.”
In addition, he said that for some time his administration has been focused on housing and it is expected that $6 billion would be spent in the next few years on infrastructure to develop some 20,000 house lots so that the demand for housing would be substantially reduced.
The President said yesterday he met members of the Bankers Association during which the provision of affordable housing loans to persons was discussed.
“We have a huge demand for housing financing because everyone wants to build and therefore New Building Society which has almost reached its limit and has played a very critical role in mortgage financing for many years cannot continue to serve the great demand out there,” the President said.
Jagdeo said government had extended the loan ceiling of $3 million that existed at NBS to other banks so that once these loans were granted in the housing sector they would not be taxable. As such they were able to lower the interest rate offered to borrowers. He said the ceiling has been raised to $8 million and it is hoped that the commercial banks would be aggressive in getting persons to borrow so that many more persons can own their own homes.
He said the bankers expressed great appreciation for this move and have indicated that it is something they could work with.
He hopes that this would see the commercial banks offering loans with the same interest or close to that offered by NBS.