Dookeran: 143,000 on housing waiting list
(Trinidad Express) Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran has said there is a backlog of 143,000 people on the waiting list for Housing Development Corporation houses nationwide.
He is also encouraging citizens to use the facilities provided by the Home Mortgage Bank (HMB).
Dookeran made the statement during his feature address Friday evening at the Home Mortgage Bank Gala Awards Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) in Port of Spain.
He said the Government implemented the re-introduction of an TT$18,000 tax credit for first-time home owners as an incentive but that the facility was not being used as much as Government would have expected.
“I don’t think many people are aware of these things (the tax credit) because in my other role as MP of Tunapuna, …what comes up very often is the whole issue of home ownership…and I find, invariably very few people are aware of it.” He added: “They take the view that home ownership, it is tantamount to getting an HDC house and I try to persuade them that is only one avenue because I cannot expect to deal with the backlog of HDC houses in one year. There are 143,000 people on the waiting list (for HDC houses) and therefore if I were to advise them to wait on that, I would really be fooling them and therefore I advise them that while we enhance the HDC housing stock, we at the same time encourage people to move into the private sector.”
Dookeran said the HMB also gave potential home owners access to a two per cent interest rate, which is currently accessed through the HDC, Tobago House of Assembly and for Caroni Lands. Dookeran also said he did not share the predictions of economic doom and gloom from critics.
“I want to assure you that this country will come out of the period of negative growth in which it has been in the last three years, starting 2013. I know the wage negotiations are almost complete and that will allow or free us to go in that direction.