By Caribbean News Global contributor
ROSEAU, Dominica – The third session of the tenth parliament under the constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica convenes on Tuesday 26, July 2021, at 10:00 am. Estimates of expenditure for the financial year ending 30 June 2023, is projected at over XCD 1 billion, as Dominica’s future housing programme: A path to generational wealth takes shape.
Prime minister and minister for finance, investment, telecommunications and broadcasting, Roosevelt Skerrit is expected to deliver the budget address following the throne speech by His Excellency the President Charles Savarin.
Future housing programme
The government revealed plans to provide homes at affordable rates to people under the age of 45,… geared to build empowerment through ownership, a path to generational wealth, announced at the ceremonial launch and fair Saturday, July 16 2022.
Prime minister Skerrit said government has a duty to look out for the people of Dominica and create better opportunities for their future.
“Our housing policy is premised on the understanding that government has a responsibility to provide for the more vulnerable in our society who have greater difficulty fending for themselves. As long as we are able to we will continue to respond to the needs of our people for safe, resilient, affordable housing. In the Dominica Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto we pledged that the people of Dominica will be properly housed and that our national housing stock would be amongst the highest quality and most resilient in the Caribbean,” prime minister Skerrit stated.
“We are making these interventions during a period of serious strain on economies worldwide including our country Dominica. Due to the war in Ukraine and the covid-19 pandemic, we are grappling with rising inflation and the corresponding increases in the prices of goods and services. Recognizing also with this, government’s revenue has also been impacted. But we must make do and we cannot, even in difficult times, abandon our responsibilities to our people,” noted PM Skerrit, government continues to deliver on its promises to the people of Dominica. The first phase of this initiative will first target only citizens who reside in Dominica. The programme will also open to Dominicans overseas after its establishment.
Senior minister and minister for housing and urban development, Reginald Austrie says government takes pride in alleviating the standard of living across the island. He says the future housing initiative launch proves just that.
“We are moving ahead. We are adding another component, targeting our professionals in the public service and the private sector who we have heard asking for opportunities to own their own home and the government is responding. This programme is about giving young people a start with an affordable housing option. We are starting one at Cotton Hill and we will move to other communities across the country. Our aim is to, in five years, build 5,000 homes and there is no telling where this component will bring us. Because it is not a giveaway, it’s an opportunity to receive a home at a reduced interest rate and that is why the banks are with us,” the housing minister explained.
Minister for public works and the digital economy Cassanni Laville noted that even if mortgage interest rates have decreased over the years for some young professionals there are still obstacles to owning that dream home.
“It was necessary for a major policy shift to emerge to address the issues of affordability, quality of construction and compliance to building codes and standards, road access, availability of land, land tenure security, construction and material costs, services access, mortgage interests costs and financing, squatter regularization, land allocation, access to quality artesian, and the general organization within the construction sector. We are fortunate today that as we herald the birth of the newest version of the Labour Party’s housing revolution, the Future Housing Development Programme, we will witness the completion of the full circle of care that shows this government’s determination to reach out to every social stratum within our country and to address fundamental vulnerabilities that are faced,” Laville stated.
Government’s focus through the Future Housing program is to empower the youth and not profit making, Laville noted: “This is a programme that is subsidized by the Government to give you a hand up. We will assume all the risks and costs associated with planning as well as the initial construction cost. This will then be sold to you at a subsidized cost, lower than the development costs. So while there is partial recovery of costs, the true value for us your empowerment.”
Design options under the future housing programme include two, three and four-bedroom homes.
“All of these homes are meant to impress human instincts. This is truly modern architecture. This throws out the norms of traditional construction based on mathematical forms and excessive decorations. This truly displays the rise in engineering. It is influenced by our new styles and costumed to arouse emotions,” minister Laville added.
Member of parliament for the Roseau Central constituency, Melissa Poponne-Skerrit said the Future Housing program targets young professionals who may be ready for their dream home but have found difficulty in accessing affordable financing or suitable land.
“The government of Dominica recognizes your challenges and has created this avenue to help you establish a solid foundation for your families. And as young people, you understand that building generational wealth is about investment, and that investing in a tangible asset like a home is the best place to start. You understand that generational wealth is about giving our children the best and creating the enabling environment in which they have access to quality education, health care as well as opportunity. And so we want to ensure that after we are gone, they have a sustainable inheritance that they can rely on. It means they will have more options in life and more freedom from the financial worries which preoccupies our minds as parents,” Poponne-Skerrit stated.