In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda took a decision to launch the Home Improvement Loan Programme to assist persons desirous of effecting repairs and other improvements to their homes.

Under this new programme, homeowners can apply for loans of up to $25,000 at a very low interest rate of four per cent (4%) under the revolving fund to be managed by the Ministry of Housing. Unsecured loans will be given a maximum time of 7 to 10 years to be repaid, and the proceeds will be ploughed back into the programme to assist others.

Persons from both the private and public sectors are eligible to apply to the programme that the government will capitalize to the tune of $5 million.

The Cabinet also discussed the issue of water supply in the country and a representative from the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) addressed the Cabinet on the matter. The Fort James reverse osmosis plant is to be expanded from five hundred thousand gallons to one million gallons per day.

The additional units to achieve his expansion in capacity have already been ordered and APUA will engage the manufacturers so that shipping can be expedited. The plant will service areas such as St. John’s City, Point, Villa, Fort Road, Yorks, and McKinnon’s.

APUA will also replace the membranes for several existing reverse osmosis plants that have not been producing at their maximum capacity, thereby vastly improving water production in the country. In this regard, 1,800 membranes at a cost of $1.3 million have been ordered and they are to arrive in the country within a few weeks.

APUA will provide a report on the water situation to the Cabinet at least once every two weeks. Additionally, the water tanks that the government ordered and paid for a few weeks ago are now ready for distribution to needy households.

The approach to solving the water issues in the county that is being undertaken by the Gaston Browne administration is one that is holistic and comprehensive. When completed in a few months, the country will experience a surplus in water supply and that will be supplied to farmers at an extremely low cost.