After a long wait, some Ghanaian journalists are to become proud owners of two and three-bedroom houses following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Koans Building Solutions, a real estate company.
Under the agreement, Koans is expected to construct an initial 100 housing units in the first year to be located in what has become known as the GJA Media Village at Pampaso, a gated community near Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
While an expandable two-bedroom house will go for GH¢60,000, a three-bedroom expandable apartment will cost GH¢80,000, but the terms of payment are yet to be agreed on between the GJA and Koans.
The Daily Graphic, however, gathered that one of the payment options under consideration would be for interested journalists to pay 50 per cent of the total cost upfront, with the remaining amount spread over a period.
At the signing ceremony at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra yesterday, the President of the GJA, Mr Roland Affail Monney, said many sceptics who heard about the project for the first time at the 21st GJA Awards did not believe it would come through.
“In reality, today is the day of action and not perpetration of platitude. We are taking a key step to address one of the critical needs of journalists, which is decent residential accommodation,” he said.
In the context of how expensive similar facilities in certain gated communities were, Mr Monney spoke about how some journalists in the country were poorly paid to be able to afford the houses in the Media Village, in spite of their reasonable prices.
He said most journalists were also burdened with the payment of skyrocketing rent advance, saying those difficulties made the GJA negotiate flexible terms of payment for prospective owners.
“So it is worth all the effort for all journalists, irrespective of their financial standing, to squeeze water out of stone to acquire the Media Village houses,” the GJA President submitted.
A day is yet to be announced to cut the sod for the GJA Media Village project.
Mr Monney assured journalists in the regions that the association would explore opportunities to replicate the housing initiative in other parts of the country.
He commended Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, the Chairperson of the Media Village Project, for her commitment, intellectual discipline and the journalistic detail with which she went about her voluntary assignment.
He equally lauded Mr Osei Kwadwo Addo, a member of the project committee, for the role he played in the drawing up of the agreement.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Koans Group of Companies, Mr Kofi Anokye, said the Koans corporate village was the company’s new approach to meeting the housing needs of middle-class Ghanaians.
He noted that although many income earners were eager to own houses, they faced the challenge of being able to develop their lands before retirement and in most cases lost them to litigation.
“To meet this market that has been largely ignored over the years, we came up with the Koans Corporate Village concept to serve hardworking Ghanaians and demystify house ownership,” he stated.
He said the Koans Media Village, which was the first of its kind in Africa, was the result of the visionary leadership of the GJA President and his team who came knocking on the company’s doors.
Mr Anokye said the company was a friend of the media and that it was its quest to see improvement in the living standards of journalists that encouraged the management to consider the GJA proposal for the project.
Launching the project, the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Ms Freda Prempeh, lauded the GJA leadership for its desire to ensure the welfare of its members.
She described shelter as a prerequisite in life, for which reason the government attached so much importance to it, adding that a process had been initiated to put up 10,000 affordable housing units across the country.
Touching on the housing deficit that is in the region of 1.7 million, she said the government was under extreme pressure to deliver affordable houses to Ghanaians.
She stated that the abolition of the five per cent real estate tax by the government was a move to give Ghanaians the opportunity to own houses.
Ms Prempeh described the Media Village project as a very good deal, considering the cost of the houses.