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Phillips indicates change coming to NHT Act
2013-02-26 16:31:07 | (0 Comments)
Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio
Finance Minister, Dr Peter Phillips, has given formal notice he will be bringing to parliament next Tuesday, a bill to amend the National Housing Trust (NHT) Act to allow the government to legally take 45 billion dollars from the Trust for budgetary support.
The announcement by Dr Phillips comes just three days before the Supreme Court is to hear a case brought by a lobby group to block the withdrawal of the NHT funds.
The lobby group, Citizens Action for Principle and Integrity (CAPI), is arguing that the withdrawal would be illegal as the NHT is a statutory trust fund where contributions are to be held for the benefit of contributors needing housing solutions.
In addition CAPI said the NHT board of directors has a fiduciary duty not to hand over funds to the government for budgetary support because the money is private property.
The Attorney General and the board of the NHT had maintained that the withdrawal would be legal and is covered under the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act.
The government had also said it was prepared to go to court to defend its position.
However, over the weekend there seemed to have been a weakening of that stance with Dr Phillips indicating the government could seek to amend the NHT act to facilitate the drawdown.
This afternoon, he followed through telling the House of Representatives that he would introduce a bill entitled The National Housing Trust Special Provisions Act 2013.
The notice comes amid criticism yesterday that amending the act could set a bad precedent.
The Opposition has vowed that it will fight any amendment.
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Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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