The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is expected to generate its own revenue to pay salary and wages and not depend on Government for transfers.
That’s how Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Commission, Denis Kellman reacted today to a media report which indicated that the staff at the NHC had not received this month’s salary and wages on time.
Dismissing the report, the St Lucy MP said: “It is amazing to hear that some workers are complaining because they did not receive their wages and salaries at a particular time.
“It was not even a day that workers had to wait,” he pointed out, explaining that “based on everything I have been told, they were expecting money yesterday evening [Tuesday] and they probably got it this evening.
“They cannot say they had to wait a day. It was just a matter of hours,” he said.
Also stressing that the NHC was expected to generate its own revenue through the collection of rent and sale of properties, Kellman said: “The workers at the NHC are their own paymasters. Their performance will dictate when they will be paid and how much they will be paid.
“For example, the collection of rent, land sales and projects will create the cash flow to enable management to pay wages and salaries,” the Minister noted.
The outspoken parliamentarian recalled that he was heavily criticized when he introduced “the concept of a commercial lot” in an attempt to establish another revenue stream for the corporation.
However, he warned that the NHC could not subsidize all of its lots.
“It must find a commercial stream,” Kellman said, explaining that “there are some lands that the NHC would have to get the market value for so that it can use the surplus money to subsidize low income houses.
“The workers have to join the team and understand that the NHC is not the normal Government department where you wait to get money from the Treasury.
“It is not the obligation of central Government to pay NHC workers. It is for the NHC to generate its own revenue to pay itself,” he contended.
The Minister of Housing also said while the Freundel Stuart administration has been trying to sell off some of the housing stock it inherited, the pace has not been as fast as he would have liked it to be.
“The Ministry feels it is the right policy and the right direction. We are trying to ensure that it succeeds,” Kellman added.
Dismissing Opposition claims that Government hadx been delinquent in not constructing more units in the seven years it has been in office, he pointed out that it inherited a deficit of $500 million on assuming office.
“Central Government has been paying the debt which the NHC inherited. That is the major headache. The first thing you have to do is to correct the cash flow. We have been trying to complete the houses and sell them before we can attempt to create more liabilities without having revenue,” Kellman explained. [email protected]