Support local industries; Groupe Nduom urges govt

BY: Daniel Ofosu Dwamena
Mr Felix Ograh
Mr Felix Ograh

The Managing Director (MD) of Yorke Properties, a subsidiary of Groupe Nduom (GN), Mr Felix Ograh, has called on the government to support local industries, especially those in the real estate sector, to help bridge the housing deficit.

He said governments had over the years been contracting foreign companies to undertake major governmental infrastructural projects to the neglect of the local ones, thereby worsening their condition.

Mr Ograh,  who made these remarks at the  official opening of a new 16 unit three bedroom apartment developed by Yorke Properties and funded by GN Bank said:  “The government awards contract to foreign firms and they spend the money they get outside the country. Meanwhile, if those projects were given to indigenous companies, the money would have stayed right here in the country,” .

Although Mr Ograh said he was not against foreign investors, there was the need to support the local real estate developers because the country lacked housing facilities.

“There is nothing better than supporting your own. This is the reason why GN Bank has taken the bold step to finance Yorke Properties to help alleviate the plight of the ordinary person by embarking on developing affordable housing units for workers in the country”, he added.


Lack of government support

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Mr Samuel Amegayibor, bemoaned how governments had not been able to develop pragmatic measure to supply housing in the country.

He called for a national strategy which would enable the private sector to find it more attractive in venturing into real estate development.

He said the government could support the local real estate developers by acquiring lands and providing other special amenities before the estate developers reclaimed them for  properties.

That, he said, would reduce the cost of putting up property, and in turn, construct very affordable but quality houses to meet the income of the ordinary Ghanaian.

“We all admit the private sector alone cannot provide affordable housing, so can government alone do so. Government private partnership is the measures that we have to put in place to drive the agenda,” he explained.

He said although there was an attempt by former President J.A. Kufuor’s government to put up 5,000 affordable housing, it was never completed.

“As we speak now, they are still not completed. Work is ongoing and so the purpose for the project basically is being defeated. If you go ask them how much they are putting into the housing and how much they will in turn sell it, you will realise it will no more be affordable,” he retorted.

Commendation

He, therefore, lauded the GN Bank for such an initiative to help in putting up apartments that were selling cheaper than some of the government housing units.

“The GN Bank needs to be commended for putting up these beautiful apartments and selling it for US$120,000. They have other projects that are selling at GH¢90,000. They are cheaper than the recent housing for the police which sells at US$140, 000,” he stated.

Apartments

The unit, known as Ahomka Court, is located at the Redco enclave, off the Accra-Aburi high street.

According to him, per the agreement with the GN Bank which contracted them the project, they were mandated to sell the property for the bank.

He said an apartment went for US$120,000 which was the equivalent of GH¢564,000, and came with other services such as access roads, constant supply of utilities and a comprehensive insurance for both the house and the occupants.

Housing deficit

Mr Ograh said it was estimated that the country had a housing deficit of 1.5 to 2 million, and if other entities tried to put up similar property just as the GN Bank had done, the gap would be bridged.

 He said housing was one of the major challenges that was facing the working class, especially those in the cities, therefore, “if you are able to deal with your accommodation challenge and transportation that means 80 per cent of your problems are solved,” he noted.