President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced plans by the government to launch a GH¢1 billion housing fund that will target low-income earners.
The move, according to the President, forms part of government’s efforts to address the acute shortage of decent housing for people in middle and low-income bracket in the country.
President Akufo-Addo announced this when he delivered a message on the state of the nation before Parliament yesterday.
He said accommodation challenges had been a long-standing problem that kept getting worse each passing day and added that “it is time to tackle the issue and find a resolution.”
“We are starting with the completion of the many abandoned projects dotted around the country. A consortium of local banks has raised US$51 million to fund the completion of the social housing units started by the Kufuor administration in 2006 at Koforidua, Tamale and Ho.”
“The Saglemi Housing Project, started under the last NDC government, is also high on our list of priorities this year. The 5,000 units it offers would boost our housing numbers,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the government was in the process of establishing the value for money issues surrounding the projects in order to reconcile the number of houses built with the schedule of payments made, and accelerate delivery.
The 2019 budget, he said, made provision for the construction of 200,000 housing units and indicated that a database of local and foreign developers had been created to help make the policy a reality.
On the housing projects for the police, armed forces and government workers across the country, he said the government, through agencies like the State Housing Corporation, would provide accommodation for such workers.
“The most exciting news on the housing landscape, though, is the drafting of plans to regenerate Nima, which holds the dubious title of being Accra’s first slum.”
“It has, of course, progressed very much since those early days, even if it has been unable to shake off the urban-slum title. I am a proud resident of Nima myself, and I am extremely excited that the regeneration plans will not dislodge or dispossess residents, but would rather transform Nima into a well-laid out residential area with full amenities,” he said
President Akufo-Addo expressed concerns over the poor drainage in towns and cities which often led to flooding during the rainy season and the problem of sea erosion along the coast that endangered the lives of people living along the coast.
He stressed the need to find lasting solution to the problem and noted that the Odawna Storm Drains in Accra, which had caused many tragedies over the years, were now being reengineered by a team of experts who would give it a permanent fix.
The Dichemso Drainage System was also on the government’s list of priorities, and a bid had been put out for experts to transform it into a more efficient system, he said.
President Akufo-Addo pointed out that the ongoing coastal protection projects were proceeding in Adjoa in the Western Region, Blekusu, New Takoradi phase II (Elmina), Dansoman, Axim and Dixcove.
He added that this year, work would begin on other projects in Amanful Kumah, Dansoman phase II, Komenda, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Mensah Guinea, Ningo Prampram, New Takoradi Phase III, Apam, Kokrobite, Bortianor, Blekusu Phase II and Aboadze-Shama Phase II, Maritime University, Nungua, Takoradi, Anyanui and Essipong.
“Mr Speaker, we are putting in place plans to avert the perennial flooding caused by the spillage of the Bagre dam, which has resulted in the constant loss of lives and property over the years.”
“In the short-term, desilting of the White Volta will be undertaken this year, in conjunction with discussions with the Burkinabes to regulate the flow of the spillage, and mitigate its impact,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo further announced that the Ministry of Works and Housing would, in the coming week, receive a report on a feasibility study conducted by the Chinese company, SinoHydro, for the construction of a dam at Pwalugu, to serve as a receptacle to hold the volume of water spilled from the Bagre Dam for irrigation purposes, and also for the generation of electricity.
That, he said, would be the permanent solution to the Bagre Dam problem.
The President noted that the requisite approvals would be sought by the ministry from Cabinet and Parliament to permit the construction of the Pwalugu Dam.
By Yaw Kyei and Julius Yao Petetsi