Govt to complete abandoned housing projects

BY: Maclean Kwofi
 Mr Atta Akyea, Minister of Works and Housing
Mr Atta Akyea, Minister of Works and Housing

The Ministry of Works and Housing is seeking financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance to enable it to complete the affordable housing projects that were started under the Kufuor regime.

It said the remaining work on the 2,000 housing units was expected to cost $51 million to complete.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, revealed this to the media at GREDA’s 30th Anniversary Dinner Dance and Awards night held at the weekend in Accra.

He explained that plans were far advanced for work to start on the abandoned projects located across three major cities in the country.

Mr Atta Akyea added that the present government intended to complete the abandoned projects before it shifted its focus to its own housing projects.

These steps adopted, he said, were crucial to help bridge the country’s housing deficit, presently hovering around 1.7 million housing units.

Housing fund

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Beyond that, the minister said the ministry would consider leveraging the pension funds to promote mortgage arrangements in the country.

Towards that end, he said the Ministry of Works and Housing was currently working on a legislation to demand about 30 per cent from the pension pool to improve the housing deficit in the country.

“What we need is a mortgage system which is connected with the income level of the mortgagor; we need to understand that most of our workers are on the pension scheme. What is that money used for?” he asked.

Address all bottlenecks

The Incoming President of the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA), Mr Patrick Ebo Bonful, asked for stronger collaboration between GREDA and the government to help remove bottlenecks that hinder the smooth running of the real estate industry.

He explained that the frustration most mortgage finance institutions went through to recover properties from defaulting customers should be given a second look.

Citing examples from other continents, he said in Europe and America it was not difficult for mortgage finance institutions to recover properties from defaulters and that, he said,encouraged them to provide more mortgage finance to qualified applicants.

“This in turn makes it possible for real estate developers to sell more houses and thereby make more profit and pay more corporate taxes. It also means that more people will be employed,” he added.

Going forward, Mr Bonful said the real estate industry needed deliberate efforts to help address problems that threatened the survival of the industry such as land litigation.

“We also need to work with all stakeholders to develop a mechanism that will put the ghost of this unnerving problem to bed once and for all,” he said.

Subsequently, he appealed to the government to take land from its allodial owners in lieu of cash in order to enable them to register all their interest in the lands across the country.