Business News of Monday, 2 October 2017
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister of Works and Housing, has expressed Government’s determination to addressing the housing deficit in the country through partnerships with the private sector in the provision of affordable housing units.
He said in view of the prevailing conditions whereby the majority of the population fell within the lower income bracket of the society, which could not mobilise the savings or credit to build their own homes or even meet the high rentals demanded by homeowners, the Government would partner with the private sector in delivering such basic necessity of life.
The Minister, however, noted that the Government alone could not overcome the problem, especially in the face of the increasing population growth, therefore, it was adopting a two-pronged approach to mobilise funds, both domestically and internationally, to help resolve the housing challenge.
Mr Atta Akyea said this when he addressed stakeholders at this year’s World Habitat Day in Accra on Monday.
The day is being observed by 192 countries affiliated to the United Nations on the theme: ‘‘Housing Policies; Affordable Homes.’’
He said the Ministry was implementing the Affordable Housing Programme aimed at providing adequate and decent housing, particularly to the low and middle-income groups.
Mr Atta Akyea said: ‘‘Recognising low-income levels as a challenge on the demand side of housing in Ghana, our focus, therefore, is how to make housing affordable.
‘‘To achieve this goal, we are adopting cost-saving technologies and new techniques of construction as well as innovative mortgage financing’’.
Mr Atta Akyea, who is a Member of Parliament for Akim Abuakwa South of the Eastern Region, explained that in an attempt to boost the housing industry, Government would put in place some regulatory framework and adopt a number of policies with the overall objective of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to play a leading role in the delivery of housing units to the populace.
To this end, he said, the Government launched the National Housing Policy in March, last year, aimed at improving access to land with good title for housing, outlined strategies for increased production and usage of local building materials, as well as establishing a National Housing Fund and Housing Authority to fast-track the process.
On real estate agency, he said, a draft policy paper was ready for Cabinet approval, which would lead to the establishment of a Real Estate Agency, to regulate real estate agency practice and commercial transactions in real estate including the sale, purchase, rental and leasing of real estate and related fixed assets.
As part of government’s efforts to curbing the rampant encroachment and illegal acquisition of its landed properties, Mr Atta Akyea said the Ministry had secured a grant from the Japanese Government’s Counter-value Fund to create a database with digital images of all government landed properties, using Geographic Information System.
In addition, he said, a register of government office buildings and residential accommodation had been created in the Greater Accra Region as the pilot phase of the project, which would be replicated in the other nine regions.
Currently, the country has more than 1.7 million housing deficit, which has resulted in many socio-economic challenges resulting in an upsurge of slums in the cities.
This year’s World Habitat Day celebration coincided with the First Anniversary of the New Urban Agenda adopted in Habitat Three in Quito, Equador.
The New Urban Agenda enshrines a new vision of urbanisation as an indispensable engine for development and a pre-requisite for prosperity and growth.