Mrs. Delcia Bradley-King – SIDF
July 23rd, 2012
Prospective homeowners on Nevis now have the opportunity to access up to EC$500,000 for home construction thanks to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF). They will be given the opportunity to learn more at an exposition hosted by the Foundation at the Occasions Conference Centre at the Pinneys Industrial Site on July 25th from 1:00-6:00pm.
The Foundation’s Corporate Affairs Manager charged with public relations Mrs. Delcia Bradley-King, told the Department of Information on July 18th 2012, the exposition was also been designed to launch the Fund of Realisation of Economic Empowerment through Subsidised Housing (FREESH), one of two funds established by SIDF in partnership with banks. The other is the Equity Assistance Fund (EAF).
“The purpose of establishing both Funds is to assist citizens in the low to middle income bracket to own a home. We are launching this next week [July 25th]. The funds are already in place and persons have already been accessing because this was already established earlier this year but under the present conditions, persons can borrow up to $400,000 at a fixed interest rate of six percent.
“After we have our exposition next week, we are doing it because we are changing the terms; we are sweetening the pot so persons can borrow up to $500,000 more and guess what? The interest rate has been dropped to five percent. So that is the excitement that we are sharing in both St. Kitts and Nevis,” she said.
According to Mrs. Bradley-King, attendees at the exposition will have the opportunity to receive pertinent information related to home construction by a Nevisian Architect Ms. Camille Kelly from 4:30 to 5:30pm.
Her presentation will be entitled “Planning a home; be aware and beware” and would walk persons through the process of planning and building a home in an interactive fashion.
She also spoke to other activities planned during the exposition among them interaction with persons involved in the construction industry.
“We have quite a packed programme planned, very, very interesting and we want persons to come out and just meet the people in the industry.
“It does not mean of course that you must hire anyone of those persons who exhibit to build your homes. We are not making that stipulation at all. You choose who you want but we just want to put you in contact with persons in the field and as I said we are creating opportunities for employment,” she said.
The SIDF Official also used the opportunity to provide greater insight into the programme and how it could be accessed.
The EAF she explained was established to support the FREESH Fund and would be used to secure down payments requested by the banks for applicants who genuinely could not come up with the money. However, it will be tagged to the loan.
Mrs. Bradley-King further noted that background checks would be done on applicants but what would really qualify them for the loan in addition to requirements set by the banks was the value of the house they were going to build. If it cost in excess of $500,000 the applicant would not be eligible but would be if their proposed house cost $500,000 or less.
“The money is accessed through FINCO, Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis and through the Bank of Nevis. Applications, however, are through the SIDF website www.sknsidf.org so persons apply online to SIDF and when you get on that page on the website, you are going to see the different windows for the banking institutions.
“Those are the three banks in Nevis and if you want your loan to be granted by a particular financial institution, that’s the one to which you apply. Once you apply through our website through that window, the financial institution automatically gets the application. The bank will contact you if your loan is approved because the bank will do all the background checks and indicate whether or not you qualify for that loan,” she said.
According to Mrs. Bradley-King, the main goal of the Fund was to empower persons through home ownership and to create employment opportunities mostly in construction. She stated the construction was one sector which really drove economic activity with ripple effects thus the Foundation’s decision to invest in the area of homeownership.
The FREESH has been established with $10million and the EAF with $1milllion and hat was the Foundation’s way in contributing money to the banks so that they could offer the five percent fixed rate.
She said not every applicant’s house would cost maximum offered by the Fund and as such believed that a number of persons could be served from it.
The SIDF Official also gave added information about the Foundation which she noted was established in 2006 the year after the closure of the sugar industry.
“The reason for establishing this foundation was to assist the government in transitioning from an agricultural economy to a more diverse economy. So the SIDF assists the government by investing in projects to help to develop that diversified economy. Dr. Hermia Morton Anthony is the Chairman of SIDF and Mr. Terrence Crossman is the Chief Executive Officer,” she said.
Among projects undertaken by the Foundation since its inception in areas spanning tourism, agriculture and education are loans to small farmers to assist them develop the farming industry; under the Agricultural Resource Management (ARM) project dams are built for water storage used by farmers in the dry season for crop irrigation and the introduction of greenhouse technology which aids farmers.
The Foundation also provides airlift to the St. Kitts Tourism Authority from which Nevis also benefits.
“That helps to bring flights from British Airways and American to St. Kitts and Nevis benefits of course because as a result of these regular flights from AA we can have a direct flight to Miami and we can have a direct flight to JFK in New York,” the Corporate Affairs Manager said.
Also there was the YES programme which was an investment in education for the empowerment of young persons in which they were trained and provided with attachments at the relevant business places.