Business News of 2014-06-25

Cabinet scrutinizes Real Estate Agency bill

Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Vincent Oppong Asamoah, says government is preparing the Real Estate Agency bill to regulate the property market and help bring sanity as well as reduce fraud in the housing industry.

The bill, currently before Cabinet for final review for onward submission to Parliament, has the purpose of regulating the real-estate brokerage practice and practitioners in the country, and to bring it to the level of universally accepted standards.

“The bill is currently at Cabinet level,and even at the Cabinet level we have gone very far so the next moment it will go to Parliament.

“At the Cabinet it can take some time; if it doesn’t even happen this year, I’m sure early next year it will come to Parliament,” Mr. Asamoah told B&FT in an interview in Accra.

Mr. Asamoah explained that one result of the increase in activities in the property market is the influx into estate brokerage trade of fraudsters, as many of the agents have no particular training in estate brokerage and many have no identifiable office accommodation.

“Because of that people get swindled, especially those residing abroad and trying to procure property in the country.

“They end up in wrong hands, and also there is a lot of money laundering within the real-estate agency business,” he explained.

Mr. Asamoah said: “The industry has a lot of professionals in other jurisdictions, but in Ghana there are only sign-posts at roadsides, telling one that ‘if you want to rent a room, get in touch with this person’. This is not the best way to go.

“We are enjoined as a country to ensure that the sector is regulated, so that at the end of the day people with that wrong money will not find their way into the economy.

“Once we find ourselves within the community of nations, we have to do just exactly that; this law is expected to come out and regulate the agency industry, just as we have it in other jurisdictions around the world.”