SIDF Funded Housing In St. Kitts
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 30, 2012 (CUOPM)
The SKN Leewards Times has commended the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for injecting millions of dollars in the economy using funds from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).
In its weekend editorial entitled “SIDF to our Economic Rescue,” the independent weekly noted that citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis now have the opportunity to apply for a residential loan of up to EC$500,000.00 at a fixed annual interest rate of 5% and that the offer was made possible through the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), via the Fund for the Realization of Economic Empowerment through Subsidized Housing (FREESH) and the Equity Assistance Fund (EAF) in partnership with indigenous financial institutions earlier this year.
“This development is a significant milestone for Kittitians and Nevisians alike and signifies that there is light at the end of the recession tunnel. We all are aware that after the 2007 harsh economic and financial crisis, the world economy has been reporting slow to no recovery. St. Kitts and Nevis is not immune to what happens in the global economy,” said the Leewards Times editorial, adding:
“The construction industry is one of the most dynamic pillars of our economy and right now, there is a slump in that industry. As a result, many contractors do not have continuous employment and by extension their workers who can range from between 7 to thirty per construction team are struggling for jobs. The financial impact from such joblessness in this industry is significant, bearing in mind that considerable workers are paid weekly.”
“The government of St. Kitts and of Nevis must be highly commended for this brilliant initiative. Congratulations to both the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas) and the Premier (Hon. Joseph Parry) for their foresight and vision and securing the economic empowerment of our people with this rescue of the most important industry in the Federation,” said the Leewards Times editorial.
It noted that the first EC$10 million injection from SIDF will systematically affect the construction sector positively and by extension the broader economy.
“The whole purpose the Fund was established is to assist citizens in the low to middle-income bracket to own a home. Hence the SIDF Fund is a great opportunity for citizens to weather the economic challenges as they prepare for the future,” said the paper.
It also noted from reports, that the turnout of citizens at the expositions held both in St. Kitts and Nevis was tremendous. “In St. Kitts, it was reported that in excess of a thousand people turned up to seek assistance and in Nevis hundreds also showed up,” said the paper.
“The main goal of the Fund is to encourage expansion in the construction sector and to provide loan capital through participating financial institutions to middle and low income citizens. Ten million Eastern Caribbean Dollars EC$10,000,000.00 was allocated to the FREESH and one million Eastern Caribbean dollars was reserved for the EAF,” said the paper, pointing out that Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Joseph Parry, is of the view that the “SIDF program will give assistance to persons interested in building homes, encourage contractors and bring growth to the home construction sector on Nevis.”
Citizens desirous of constructing a new home were last week invited to attend an exposition to meet with loans officers, contractors, architects, housing developers, suppliers of building materials and other service providers in the home construction sector in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Following the closure of the local sugar industry in 2005, the government launched the Fund with a view to generating additional resources to assist in improving the welfare of the displaced sugar workers. The initiative was established as a legal foundation in September 15, 2006 under the Foundations Act 2003, and became fully functional as a charitable institution in 2008.