Bringing in the bucks

Bringing within the bucks

Land gross sales add nearly $700 million to authorities coffers in 2019-2020 fiscal 12 months

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Massive
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, January 16, 2021

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THE Authorities raked in nearly $700 million by the sale or lease of State-owned lands in the course of the 2019-2020 fiscal 12 months.

In its annual divestment report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Lands (COL), an company within the Ministry of Financial Development and Job Creation, reported that 211 ministerial approvals had been granted for the divestment of Authorities-owned lands in the course of the fiscal 12 months.

“The anticipated income from divestments as on the 12 months ending March 31, 2020 is $691,649,091.00,” stated the COL in its report because it famous that this didn’t embrace land transactions the place there was no cash concerned.

Within the 2019-2020 fiscal 12 months, 54 ministerial approvals had been granted for the sale of Authorities-owned lands valued at nearly $495 million, whereas 40 approvals had been granted for the lease of lands to the tune of $35 million. Income from the ministerial approval for easement and licences accounted for the remainder of the revenue for the 12 months.

Among the many main gross sales by the COL final 12 months was two townhouses in Charlton Manor, St Andrew, which had been bought for $31 and $44 million, repectively, on behalf of the Nationwide Insurance coverage Fund.

Three townhouses in Kingsway Manor in St Andrew, valued at a complete of $126 million, had been additionally bought in the course of the 12 months, with one purchaser grabbing two of them.

The COL was additionally instructed handy over properties to the Sugar Firm of Jamaica Holdings Restricted by the Cupboard.

“There have been two transactions involving the switch of properties, amounting to…4,965 acres, to the Sugar Firm of Jamaica Holdings Restricted in the course of the interval 2019-2020,” the report famous.

“Lands are transferred to the minister of housing to facilitate regularisation of unlawful occupiers [squatters], resettlement of individuals affected by flooding, and for enchancment of residential areas. The place lands are transferred to the Ministry of Housing for upgrading of amenities and infrastructure, it’s at no cost. There was, nonetheless, no transaction involving the switch of lands to the minister of housing in the course of the interval 2019-2020,” added the COL.

Underneath the Crown Property Vesting Act, the COL is established as a company sole with energy to accumulate, maintain and get rid of land or property of no matter form, topic to the approval of the minister with accountability for land.

On account of issues prior to now in regards to the course of by which public lands had been being divested, a Coverage Framework and Procedures Guide for the Divestment of Authorities-owned lands was developed and tabled within the Homes of Parliament in 2015.

Its guiding rules are transparency, fairness, sustainable land utilisation and administration, and the constructing of social and financial capital.

Previous to ministerial approval, purposes for lands really helpful by the COL for divestment are submitted to the Land Divestment Advisory Committee (LDAC) which deliberates on the issues and makes suggestions to the minister.

However the coverage and procedures handbook exempts sure divestments from the must be thought of by the LDAC.

Exempted divestments embrace the handover of lands owned or held in belief by the COL to Authorities entities for his or her use and/or occupation.

The coverage and procedures handbook additionally requires that an annual report offering data on the lands divested by the COL be tabled within the Homes of Parliament by the minister with portfolio accountability for land. This doesn’t embrace Authorities-owned lands held by different entities.

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