The government has started the construction of 250,000 affordable housing units across the country as part of measures to wipe out the two-million housing unit deficit, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, has announced.
He also gave an assurance that it would complete all affordable housing projects started by past governments.
Mr Atta Akyea made this known when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday.
He said the ongoing project formed part of an eight-year government affordable housing project to deliver 250,000 housing units a year to address the housing deficit.
The minister appealed to the public not to worry over the delivery timelines for the project because he said the government was considering modern technologies such as prefabrication that facilitated construction within days and months.
“Ghana, like many other countries in the developing world, has serious housing challenges.
This is why the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has identified housing as a critical sector of the economy for reducing poverty and guaranteeing social stability and national security,” he said.
He said the government, in addressing the housing challenges, was prioritising affordability and access to mortgage by all groups or classes of salary earners through a number of measures, including the introduction of a national credible mortgage regime that was based on flexibility and affordability.
“It is the position of the ministry that unless we deploy revolutionary financial mechanisms, the yawning housing deficit will mock us for a long time.
It is in the light of the above that the ministry is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Finance to create a National Housing and Mortgage Fund,” he stated.
Mr Atta Akyea mentioned other interventions in the housing sector to include the upgrading of all slums into modern communities, starting with Nima-Mamobi in Accra.
“The transformation of approximately 1,039 acres of prime land, which Nima and Mamobi occupy, will give meaning and beauty to the President’s vision of bridging development gaps in Inner Cities and Zongo communities,” he explained.
Mr Atta Akyea said the government was collaborating with the ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Inner Cities and Zongo Development to make Nima-Mamobi a world-class residential enclave without dislodging the people who currently dwelt there.
He said the project, which would be carried out in partnership with a private investor, would be at no financial cost to the government and beneficiaries but that appropriate measures had been included in the plan to help the developer recoup the investment with profit through the sale of other executive houses in the area and under the same upgrading project.
He outlined measures the government was putting in place to end the perennial flooding and tidal waves destruction in the short, medium and long term.
He said the ministry had been implementing a number of coastal protection works which were currently at various stages of completion.
“The ministry will continue to roll out this programme in Accra and other cities and towns to curtail the recurrence of devastating floods,” he said.
The minister announced that a National Hydrology Authority (NHA) would be established to develop comprehensive solutions to mitigate the effects of flooding and the protection of inland and sea coastlines.
“A Cabinet sub-committee has been tasked by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to provide a comprehensive road map for a permanent fix to the perennial flooding in the country.
Consequently, in the Medium-term Expenditure Framework for 2018-2021, the government allocated GH¢20.58 million to tackle drainage and flood-related challenges,” he said.
Mr Atta Akyea said for 2019-2022, the government allocated GH¢45.71 million to tackle drainage and flood-related challenges.
The overall aim of the government’s infrastructure delivery policies and programmes was to build a modern and resilient society and ensure that the development of infrastructure brought about improvement in the overall economic and social well-being of the people of the country, he said.
“The strategic direction, therefore, for infrastructure delivery is to leverage private sector resources and expertise for the provision of economic and social infrastructure in an integrated manner,” he added.
Other interventions in the housing sector, the minister said, included the redevelopment of government residential areas in old neighbourhoods and on huge portions of prime lands to make room for condominiums and modern houses to maximise land use, without inconveniencing the occupants of those prime lands.
Such areas include the Roman Ridge, the Airport Residential Area, Labone and Cantonments.
Mr Atta Akyea also talked about ongoing processes to initiate a real estate authority to regulate real estate agency practice and real estate commercial transactions, including the sale, purchase, rental and leasing of real estate and related fixed assets.