Statement by National Housing Development Trust
Following much pub0lic discussion on its fiscal processes in September, the National Housing Development Trust (NHDT) would like to clarify the status of the organization's current procurement practices and financial statement reporting.
The work of the NHDT is solely dedicated to ensuring that low income families have access to affordable homes, of standard quality, in vibrant neighborhoods.
To achieve this objective, back in 2003, Government issued a US$29 million bond, of which US$14.5 million was invested during the 2003/4 period. All issues mentioned by the Auditor General and others relate to these monies.
In 2009, the remaining US$14.5 million was drawn down and has since been invested in land development costs, as well as the construction cost of houses in East End, George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town. These funds are fully accounted for, and were invested in durable assets that have an expected useful life of 50 years. All the new homes were built to Cayman Islands Building Code Standards and have received Certificates of Occupancy. The properties have also received proper land titles.
Procurement processes were in line with the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL) and, where required, administered by Central Tenders Committee (CTC), which oversees bids in excess of CI$250,000. It is the role of CTC to ensure that the requirements of accountability and fairness are being met, and the Government realizes value for money.
The NHDT is up to date with its financial statement reporting, and has achieved unqualified audits, meaning information has been fairly presented with no material financial issues, since 2005. As of this fiscal year, the financial statements have been submitted to the Auditor General's Office on time.
The NHDT has carefully considered recommendations of old audits and investigation reports and implemented effective systems to ensure proper checks and balances. This has resulted in a good working relationship with the Auditor General's Office for the past few years.
To increase transparency and accountability in our processes, the NHDT is currently developing a website that will include: meeting minutes, financial statements, the publication scheme, NHDT's public service information and application forms, as well as a "Homes-For-Sale" database. In the mean time interested parties may make Freedom of Information requests to our FOI e-mail address at foi.nhdt @gov.ky.
Minister for Community Affairs, Gender and Housing Hon. Mike Adam stated, "Our Government has been focused on ensuring the NHDT was provided the support it needed to achieve the results we have today. I commend the Board, the management and staff for their efforts over the past several years towards building a sustainable affordable housing model for communities and residents in need."
The NHDT's main focus today is to prepare families for home-ownership opportunities to ensure that they have the best possible chance of succeeding at their homeownership dream. By doing this, individuals can also accumulate savings and prepare themselves both professionally and personally.