Economist says that gov’t housing should be given to those who can afford it

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An agricultural economist said the government is on the right track by offering housing to its people, but said all efforts should be made to ensure those who benefit can afford it.
During Friday’s Budget Presentation, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his administration will look at possibilities of raising salaries for public servants in 2017, thereby making it easier for more people to afford their own homes.
Yesterday, the Lead Consultant of I-THINK Global Consulting Services Limited, Omardath Maharaj, told The Big Issues that the government can fill the housing shortfall.
“But that direction should not be a handout, so to speak, in the sense that when you embark on a housing programme, the beneficiaries of it should have the capacity to pay for the housing. I posit that the housing programme in an economy based on tourism and you are open for business to the wider world, then certainly you would not want to give the public an interpretation of squalor,” Maharaj said.
Additionally, Barbados based economist Sir Frank Alleyne said government should not only focus on building structures, but support community building since cohesion would foster anti-socialism.
Speaking of the approximate $20 million that will go towards the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Programme this year, Maharaj said an investment in the country’s people, is a great one.
“You look at the per capita GDP, for example, and it is fairly impressive for a small island, the statics that show online says you have around US $18,000 per capita and you just referred to the relatively large investment in the scholarship programme You would want to look at merit; you would want to do means testing to see these are people who can support their education and those of their children,” Maharaj added.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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