Give Nama central housing role
Commenting on the end of year summary of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), Labour spokesperson on Urban Regeneration Joe Costello, said:
“NAMA’s end of year statement provides much food for thought.
“NAMA was established in 2010 as a bad bank to clear up the indebted property mess in the wake of the departing Celtic Tiger. It has now achieved most of its objectives after seven years and paid back the $30 billion which it borrowed from the State to buy out the property loans from the banks.
“While much attention has been drawn to some of NAMA’s multi-billion transactions with venture capitalists, its role as a home builder and builder of commercial property has passed under the radar.
“NAMA is the only show in town when it comes to the construction industry. It is a public body operating with public funds. It has completed the job it was set up to do in record time. It is now using some of the surplus funds it has generated to engage in joint ventures to develop the remaining indebted sites and properties under its control.
“In doing so, it built 7,200 houses and apartments between 2014 and 2017, has provided nearly 2500 houses and apartments for social housing since 2012 and has or is seeking planning permission for 8,500 new homes at present. Moreover, it states that it has the funding and resource capacity to construct 20,000 new homes by the end of 2020.
“This is a staggering transformation for an impaired asset- disposal company to have achieved in the space of a few short years.
“But it is the message for the Government in the present homeless and housing crisis that is crucial:
“There is now a public body that has the capacity to make an immediate and substantial difference in the crisis. The government must accept that its existing policy of relying on the private sector to solve the crisis has failed as the homeless and housing lists continue to increase.
“NAMA has completed its legislative remit. It has demonstrated flair and capacity in the construction industry. It is well resourced. Now is the time to redirect and reconfigure the Agency into a new role as the State’s National Housing Body.”