Categorized | National News

Sands: Gov’t Back Peddling On Mortgage Plan- “Plan Still Unclear”

Former Free National Movement (FNM) Senator and Chairman of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) Dr. Duane Sands claims the government seems to be back peddling on its initial mortgage relief programme.

In the Speech from the Throne delivered by Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes on Wednesday, it was revealed that the government would move forward with the plan but it would now be voluntary.

“There were promises made that there was going to be real mortgage relief within the first 100 days. Now we find out that that relief is not going to happen, but if it does happen it’s going to be voluntary participation,” Dr. Sands told the Bahama Journal following Wednesday’s speech.

“Again this is back peddling from the serious commitment and promise that was made on the election trail and also subsequently to their landslide victory.”

Dr. Sands insists this is not a wise move considering the fact that the clearing banks could begin to rethink the feasibility of the initiative.

“What this basically does is gives the banks the option to opt out [of the programme] and for other mortgagers that may feel that the plan is not in their best interest,” he said.

“And it is very difficult to make government policy voluntary. Question is: How do you create a law or a rule or a policy that you have the choice of participating or not?”

And while there is uncertainty about how the programme will work, equally as important is the government’s plan to lower the maximum rate of stamp duty on land sales from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

The government also plans to introduce a maximum cap on real property tax.

Amendments to the Subdivisions Act are also planned.

In an effort to help reduce the cost of rental housing, the government also plans to reform the rent control act.

Overall the government’s goal is to expand affordable housing for low income families as it plans to provide additional land for home ownership through the purchase of vacant and abandoned lots as a part of the Urban Renewal initiative.

Also outlined in Wednesday’s speech was the proposed creation of a reliable land register and a proper land registration system.

A review of the laws pertaining to commonage land is also on the agenda with a view to allow for greater commercial use.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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