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Stakeholders discuss ways to address housing, hydrological challenges

A stakeholders’ dialogue on how to leverage collaborations to address the country’s overwhelming housing deficit and hydrological challenges has opened in Accra.

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The meeting, christened “The built environment national conference on housing and hydrology (BENCHH 2024), is an initiative of the Works and Housing Ministry, in collaboration with industry players as part of efforts to find lasting, more inclusive and comprehensive solutions to the country’s housing and hydrological challenges.

The three-day conference is on the theme: “Enhancing collaboration to tackle Ghana’s housing and hydrology challenges.” In attendance are experts, policymakers, players in the built and hydrological space from both the public and private sectors.

The conference is premised on the fact that over the years, the general public had always looked up to successive governments to address the country’s growing housing deficit which currently stands at 1.8 million housing units.

They also express concerns over the high cost of housing, as well as annual floodings which claim lives and destroy property. 

Hydrological Fund

The Minister of Works and Housing, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, also launched a national Hydrological Fund at the event in Accra yesterday. He said hydrology had become imperative to complement the limited fiscal resources voted annually for flood control and coastal protection programmes.

“That is why the framers of the Ghana Hydrological Authority Act created a new Hydro Fund in 2022. “The government has prioritised allocation of GH¢1.5 million as seed money for the fund,” the minister said.

The fund, among other objectives, is to help publicise and promote activities of the authority, conduct research, studies and investigations relating to the functions of the authority. It will also support the acquisition, renewal, modernisation and maintenance of equipment and appropriate technologies for the authority to keep abreast of international standards and practices.

Critical component

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said although housing and hydrology were critical components of the nation’s development, the sector was faced with challenges such as flooding which was an annual occurrence in many communities across the country.

“The national flood control programme has had limited impact in adequately tackling this challenge. In the Greater Accra Region, for example, our data shows that only two per cent of the drainage channels that require concrete works has received attention,” he said.

On the housing front, the minister said “supply has not met demand, resulting in a national deficit of 1.8 million housing units currently,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated.

As part of addressing the housing problems, he said the government was keen on deepening public private partnerships by offering incentives that would make it easier for private developers to deliver the desired affordable housing projects at scale and at the desired price point.

Commendation

A former Director-General of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, Prof. Victor Agyeman, applauded the ministry for the initiative, explaining that a major barrier to addressing the challenges in the sector had been cleared because stakeholders had been working in silos.

He said the platform would help stakeholders to leverage the opportunities presented by collaborations.

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, pledged his ministry’s support for the initiative, which seeks to help employers at all levels to access decent housing facilities.

Writer’s email: doreen.andoh @graphic.com.gh

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