Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman Monday made clear his opposition to a merger of the National Housing Corporation (NHC), the Urban Development Commission (UDC) and the Rural Development Commission (RDC).
Speaking to Barbados TODAY Monday morning on the sidelines of a meeting of the Social Partnership at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), Kellman made it clear such a merger was not the answer to the problems the state agencies had been experiencing.
“What we need to do is look at efficiencies and increase productivity in those agencies more so than cutting off . . . because what you are saying to me is that these agencies do not have a purpose, which is not true,” Kellman said.
A Cabinet decision is currently pending on the merger, and the minister did little to hide his feelings on the proposal.
He said the three agencies performed different functions, suggesting strongly that a merger simply would not work.
“As a Minister of Housing I can’t speak to a merger; I would have to speak of a restructuring of my ministry for the simple reason as I have said over and over that RDC is a developmental agency . . . I see NHC as commercial and I see UDC, even though it is social, having an important role to ensure that urban areas are the most important areas or capital areas that they look in a particular way,” Kellman said.
This was not the first time that the Member of Parliament for St Lucy, who has responsibility for the NHC, had openly stated his apprehension towards the planned amalgamation.
Kellman said last month that the NHC would do all it could to prevent the move, including putting in place procedures and practices to improve productivity and efficiency.
“It is always best for organizations to do their internal restructuring and to convince people that they know what is expected of them. And that is exactly what we are doing at NHC,” Kellman told journalists at the time on the sidelines of the 4th Biennial Barbados Network Consultation Diaspora Conference.
He added then that there was need for the state entity to restructure “so as to convince the Minister of Finance or Cabinet . . . there is no need for amalgamation or restructuring to come the way other people might see it”.