The dismal number of Bahamians able to qualify for government’s Access to Affordable Homes program stems from “inadequate analysis, a defective consultation process, flawed reasoning and a disconnection from reality” of the financial plight of the population, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader Arinthia S. Komolafe said in a statement yesterday.
Komolafe said the 15 percent of the 60 applicants who qualified for the lots reveals that unemployment, underemployment and over-leveraging have placed Bahamians at an extremely disadvantaged position.
“The only problem is that this realization comes on the heels of a 60 percent increase in the VAT (value-added tax) rate and the passage of a landmark budget of hardship,” she said.
“Coupled with selective austere measures and the absence of a cogent economic growth strategy, the disposable income and purchasing power of the masses has been reduced.
“According to the government, only nine persons were eligible for the $15,000 lots following the vetting process.”
Komolafe said the cost of the lots – low as they might be – along with the time frame of two years in which qualified persons are required to build, and the subsequent failing of many people to meet the qualifications for loans, reveals that there is a “macro and micro debt crisis confronting our nation”.
“The comments attributed to the minister responsible for this initiative, that Bahamians need to get their financial house in order, is rather interesting,” she said.
“We are hopeful that the government will heed its own advice and demonstrate a true commitment to fiscal discipline, while avoiding imprudent financial decisions on our behalf. It appears that the government via its representative has had an epiphany on the plight and reality of the average.
“We submit that it is disingenuous for a sitting government to pontificate on predatory lending at commercial banks and other lending institutions without an accompanying solution aimed at addressing the highlighted issue.”
Komolafe said the government must begin to rely on empirical data before making “grandiose announcements and ad hoc decisions” on programs that should help the disadvantaged in Bahamian society.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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