Government Explores Funding Options for Housing Initiatives
The Briceno administration has committed to providing housing for first time owners. While they have delivered on providing starter homes around the country, funding remains an issue. According to the Prime Minister, the government is looking to explore financial avenues.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Just yesterday in Cabinet Minister Espat was bringing up the issue that they need more funding because the kind of funding that we do we build good quality start homes for people with the plans to be able to expand to two or three bedrooms in the future. And yet the homeowner, in most instances, we try to target single mothers or people that are really poor for them to be able to own a home and all they need to pay is $100 per month for 10 years. So in effect they pay about $12,000 and the government also have to subsidize it. We want to do more of that. But we have to do it within our means. And so we have to look at what we have as for capital to funding and the discussion that we had yesterday is that we want to look at where we have been spending capital two budgets for the past two years, 21/ 22 and 23. And so in the new budget then decide where we want to shift our monies. Where is it well certainly if housing has to be one of them well then the pie is limited. So we have to make sure we take away from something to be able to put there. Or if we could access to low-cost funding at say 2% or the Korean government has a fund at the at CABEI where we now we’ve finally been granted access. It’s at 0.01 percent to be paid over 20 years. If we can qualify for housing under that funding that they have available then we want to borrow from that so that we can then speed up the housing program that we’ve been working on.”
In the interim, many Belizeans who are yet to own their homes, they are forced to pay rent which is at an all-time high. Today, the Prime Minister was asked if the idea of rent control has come up within his Cabinet.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “No, actually no. It will be very difficult to have any kind of rent control in Belize. But I think that what we can put in place, or I think that the renters need to be aware of that there is a process when they are not paying their rent, and how they can take them out from their homes. Because in some instances some unscrupulous building owners would change the lock or cut the water, cut the light those steps are illegal. There’s a legal process to follow. So from that end, yes, I think we need to find or ensure that our citizens know what are their rights. Rent control would be a bit more difficult to do.”