Business News Thu, 28 Dec 2017

Government intervention required to address social housing needs – GHL Bank MD

The private sector alone cannot meet the yawning need for social housing in Ghana, the CEO of Ghana Home Loans (GHL) Bank, has said.

Mr Dominic Adu says the private sector which is mainly profit-driven, will only work to address private sector needs.

He said there is, therefore, an urgent need for government intervention to help raise funds for institutions that will be mandated to produce thousands of social housing units every year for low to middle-income earners.

“Government has to find a way of raising funds either by a certain taxation on stamp duty for registering your title or, as they did for the National Health [insurance] Authority, a certain percentage of VAT; there has to be a certain government concerted effort,” Mr Adu told Nana Akosua on Hard Truth on Joy News.

Works and Housing Minister Samuel Atta Akyea has pegged Ghana’s housing deficit at 1.7 million.

This is said to be among the worst in the world.

Mr Dominic Adu said the situation can only change if there is a fundamental shift in cultural and national attitudes to housing.

He said apart from supporting the funding of housing, the government must also set standards and update and enforce the building codes.

Also, Ghanaians’ taste for housing, he said, must change; many people want to live in large self-compound houses, something he insisted is unsustainable.

To drive down cost, people must learn to accept that they can live in flats in high-rise buildings.

Ghana Home Loans Bank, formally a financing company renowned for being a pioneer in mortgage financing, recently acquired a banking licence to operate as a bank.

The CEO of the Bank, said unlike previously when the company could only grant mortgages to individuals and institutions who banked with other banks, “by being GHL bank, we will be able to provide not just a mortgage but the entire financial needs of that person.”

He said now the company is in position to advise individuals, looking at their finances, on what opportunities there are for them to acquire properties and where they can find a property of their choosing.

“Beyond that, what we are trying to do is to bank the real estate sector so when a developer is going to build the property, they are buying the cement, they are buying the iron rods from companies that are with us; we would see the entire chain and try to build in, efficiencies, lower cost of transaction and hopefully that would lead to lower cost of developing the property,” he stated.

According to Mr. Adu, GHL Bank will continue to play its traditional role in mortgage financing where it has a carved a niche for itself.

Source: Myjoyonline.com