The housing deficit in the country is estimated to be more than 1.5 million units and growing by the day.
This unfortunate situation has given landlords a field day to be charging exorbitant rents. In spite of the law that prevails on them to desist from charging more than a year’s rent advance, the forces of demand and supply have made it virtually impossible for the state to enforce that law.
It is against this background and more that governments have, over the years, made it a point to put up affordable houses to bridge the gap and ensure that middle and lower-income earners, in particular, have roofs over their heads.
That desire began with the Acheampong regime, which built hundreds of houses at Dansoman in Accra, considered one of the biggest housing estates in the West African sub-region.
The Rawlings era also saw the construction of SSNIT flats at Dansoman, Adentan and Sakumono, which also got thousands of families moving in for shelter.
In the Kufuor era, the effort went nationwide with what gave birth to the word ‘affordable’ for housing projects.
Examples of such projects include the Borteyman and the Kpone housing projects in the Greater Accra Region; Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Tamale in the Northern Region and Wa in the Upper West Region, all initiated by the former President’s administration.
Just a couple of years ago, the Mahama administration also inaugurated 1,500 housing units, known as the Saglemi Project, near Tsopoli in the Ningo-Prampram District in the Great Accra Region.
Unlike the others, the Saglemi houses and those built under the Kufuor administration are yet to be occupied.
To a large extent, most, if not all of the units have been completed. The finishing touches should, therefore, not cost anything much to provide accommodation for some people.
This, the Graphic Business finds not just strange but also highly unfortunate, particularly at a time when the housing gap is widening at a faster pace.
We are also utterly surprised that we sit back and look at millions of Ghana cedis go waste, while the people for whom the project was executed wallow in their present state, leaving them at the mercy of landlords who are simply being exploitative.
The fate of the Saglemi Housing Project, executed at $180 million, is not different from that of other state housing schemes in different parts of the country that have either been abandoned or are being worked on at a snail’s pace.
We wonder what reasons there are for the inability of the present government to complete these projects to house the masses.
It is our hope that the government is not considering the project as one of its predecessor, for which reason it is refusing to complete it to have many move in.
We think that should the government make it a priority, those housing units can be completed within the next couple of years and sold out to those genuinely in need to close the housing gap. — GB