Business News of 2014-08-22

‘Scientific study needed to establish housing deficit’

The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (WRWH) has underscored the need for a scientific study on housing to establish the current housing deficit.
The housing deficit is estimated at 1.7 million units, but a Deputy Minister of WRWH, Mr Sampson Ahi, has cast doubt over the figure, considering the various interventions by the government.
“The government has initiated a number of affordable housing projects nationwide aimed at reducing the estimated housing deficit,” he added.
Launching the maiden edition of a report on housing data and information services for the sector at a ceremony in Accra on Monday, Mr Ahi said the basis for the current estimated 1.7 housing deficit was the 2010 population and housing census.
The national census is conducted every 10 years.
Current scientific research required
Mr Ahi said the basis for the current estimated housing deficit was not appropriate for making current and future projections because much had been done after the 2010 population and housing census.
The 2013 report on housing data and information services was compiled by HousinData Ghana Limited, a private housing research and consultancy organisation.
The annual report is aimed at providing accurate and current information on housing to serve as a guide for policy makers, investors and actors in the housing industry.
It provided information on the entire housing sector in Ghana, stating the total number of houses built in 2013, the number of real estate developers in Ghana, challenges in the housing sector, among other areas.
Mr Ahi explained that considering the various interventions made at addressing the estimated 1.7 million housing deficit and the changing trends in the sector, there should be a change in the statistics based on scientific research establishing improvement made or otherwise .
According to him, even though the 2010 population and housing census was of great help in making projections, it was not an accurate database for making projections from now till 2020 when a new census would be conducted.
“The importance of data for planning purposes towards the socio-economic development of any country cannot be overemphasised,” he added.
While commending HousinData for the laudable initiative, Mr Ahi acknowledged that there was more to be done in the provision of accurate and consistent database on the sector.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to collaborate in the gathering of information to ensure an adequate and consistent database on the housing sector on a yearly basis.
New strategy required
For his part, the Managing Director of the State Housing Company, Dr Mark Ankrah, said Ghana’s housing problem required a different and scientific approach.
According to him, generating a scientific, authentic and consistent database on housing would mark the start of addressing the housing problem in Ghana, in spite of all the interventions.
He commended HousinData for the initiative and called for collaboration from all stakeholders.
The Chief Executive Officer of HousinData, Mr Kelvin Kweku Yeboah, said in spite of the benefits of the database to all stakeholders, some of them were not ready to provide the requisite information, making the research very difficult.
He gave an assurance that the report would be consistent and be improved upon in subsequent years.
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