Business News of Wednesday, 9 December 2015
The deputy minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Sampson Ahi, has hinted that the indicative prices being bandied around for the affordable housing project could be slashed to ensure that many Ghanaians are able to own one.
The construction phase, which is to cover a period of 18 months, has commenced. The distribution of the apartments will be two-bedroom and three-bedroom types of 84sqm and 120sqm respectively.
The indicative costs of the units are US$29,000 for the 2-bedroom and US$57,000 for the three bedroom apartments.
“All the figures are inclusive of the cost of land, infrastructure and so on. Now, when we are pricing it we will value it and take it off. We are yet to determine the cost. Today we have approved some exemptions for investors; if they had been made to pay all those taxes, they would also slap them on the final consumer. Now that they have been exempted, this will be considered and I believe bring down the cost of the houses,” he told B&FT.
He explained that the figures on the report were indicative figures for approval by Parliament.
Mr. Ahi also stated that government included a mortgage component in the agreement, and added that after completion Ghana Home Loans will be the project off-taker.
“What this means is that if you are a young person and gainfully employed and you want to acquire one of the houses and cannot pay outright, you can go to Ghana Home Loans and go through the processes and then you will be given 15-20 years to pay,” he said.
Parliament has approved government’s request for a tax waiver amounting to US$40,171,308 on materials, equipment and services to be imported and/or procured locally under the Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Credit Suisse International for the construction of five thousand affordable Housing Units by Constructora OAS Limited.
The houses will be sold to low and middle-income public and civil servants and personnel of security services in and around Accra.
The amount covers Import Duty, Import VAT, Import NHIL, ECOWAS Levy, EDAIF and other project-related charges during construction of the Affordable Houses.
Parliament in 2012 approved the sourcing of a US$200m loan agreement for the project.
Presenting the Finance Committee’s report for approval of the waiver, Chairman of the Committee James Avedzi said the waiver is in accordance with the Constitution.
In the report, it is noted that Ghana currently faces an acute housing shortage of over 1.7million units and requires an average delivery of about 170,000 housing units annually to meet its housing demand for the growing population — but the supply rate is only about 35% of the figure.
Government recognises that there is an inadequate housing stock in relation to need, cost and affordability in housing.
It is therefore to address this increasing housing deficit that government initiated a nationwide mass housing programme.
The objective of the programme, among others, is to increase access to safe, secure, decent and affordable housing for low and medium-income earners.