Business News of 2013-12-30

More local content for state housing projects

The Government of Ghana is to employ the private sector and use more local content to complete stalled state affordable housing projects across the country.

Consequently, Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah- Arthur has directed the Ministry of Works and Housing to invite the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), for a partnership, to complete the Nungua Borteyman Housing Project.

He has also directed the Tema Development Corporation to identify all who have paid deposits to acquire housing units at the Kpone affordable housing project site, promising that government was determined to complete that project to reap the necessary benefits.

The Vice President gave the directives when he went on an inspection tour of the two projects sites, in the company of Alhaji Collins Duada, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, the Inspector-General of Police Mr Mohamed Alhassan, and Mr Julius Debrah, the Greater-Accra Regional Minister.

The Borteyman and Kpone Housing projects were two of six projects across the country the government is pursuing to provide thousands of affordable one and two bedroom houses for public sector workers. The others are sited at Tamale in the Northern Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region and Wa in the Upper West Region.

The project, consisting of over 4,700 housing units across the nation, was initiated under the Kufuor administration, but work stalled due to lack of funds. The idea is one of many attempts by government to deal with the country's housing deficits, but work on the project has stalled mainly due to lack of funds.

The Vice President said substantial public funds have been invested in the projects and quite a number of Ghanaians had made deposits to acquire housing units at these sites.

“We intend to focus on this and other sites,” the Vice President, adding, ”we are determined to have them completed.” The Kpone Housing Project at Tema involves 614 one bed room and 912 two bedroom units and are at various stages of completion, but completion works on 312 of these are expected to start next January and ended by June.

At the Borteyman site, the Vice President spoke of possible collaboration of state institutions with the state housing development agencies to procure affordable housing units for their staff. Alhaji Dauda announced that government was pursuing measures to eliminate the constraints militating against a reduction in the housing deficit, such as high cost and access to land with good title, inadequate long-term finance and heavy reliance on expensive, imported building materials.

He said the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing is negotiating with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), for the re-activation of the abandoned affordable housing project.

Negotiations between the ministry and SSNIT involve funding for the final phase of the project. Mr Kwakye Dopoah Dei, President of the GREDA, said the Association was grateful to government fot the interest to use more of local content in the projects. He promised the Association would deliver.