One of Government’s multi-million residential projects has hit a financial snag.
Director of the Urban Development Commission Derek Alleyne told Barbados TODAY this afternoon the Urban Title Transfer Programme for tenantries, which is costing an estimated $80 million to operate, has been forced to slow down due to financial constraints.
Alleyne said the programme, which was conceived in 1997, requires Barbadians occupying urban tenantries costing an average $25,000 per lot to pay only $5,000, while Government takes up the rest of the tag.
However, Alleyne warned that the UDC was struggling with that project due to financial challenges.
“When the programme was conceived, land in Barbados was $9 per square foot maximum. Land is now $20 something per square foot in some urban areas,” he noted.
“We have tried to maintain that the transfer programme doesn’t deal with market value; it deals with the value to Urban [Development Commission] and the tenant. $2.50 tenants paying and government is required to pay the difference between what the land is valued and the $.250. So sometimes it’s as high as $9, $10 a square foot.
“And if you dealing with an average 2,500 square feet by $10 per square feet, that’s $25,000 and you multiply that by 450 and then multiply it by 12 again, you talking $80 million more. Some tenants have 60 lots or 40 lots,” the UDC director explained.
He acknowledged that the programme was an ambitious one and would take a lot of planning and resources. “But there are a lot of policy issues that would have to be dealt with to make that programme,” he said.
“This [programme] has been going on since 1997; and what we do is that we have slowed down because it depends on how much money we have,” he explained.
He conceded that the programme was expensive with the average lot going for $25,000. “And the persons getting it for $2.50 by $2,000 is $5,000. We got to pay $20,000 [for the difference].”
Alleyne identified some of the tenantries covered by this programme as Clarke’s Land, Small’s Land and Brathwaite’s Land in The City.
“Once it got in six houses, it is a tenantry and you cannot sell the spot I on to anybody but me. And in addition to the cost of the land, we got to put in roads, we got to put in telephone, we got to put in light, we got to put in gas, and sometimes you go in there, you got to fix a house, you got to shift a house. I am talking about people who have been renting on tenantry lands for years,” the UDC director told this newspaper.