pGovernment will commence with the slum upgrading of Nima and Maamobi in the Ayawaso East municipality of Accra before the close of the year, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea has announced.
According to him all the feasibility studies and the necessary documentations that would kick-start the project had been completed and would be submitted to cabinet for approval in the next cabinet meeting on Thursday.
“The whole engineering and what the developers want to do will be presented to the next cabinet for consideration and immediately they give us the green light, we will just bring in the developers and then we will start,” he added.
The minister disclosed this in Accra yesterday when he took his turn at the Meet-The-Press Series organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Information.
He said the essence of the upgrading project was not intended to dislodge the people, but rather provide them with executive flats and housing units for them to move in for free.
“The Nima people have their own homes and we are aware, we are not going to dislodge them, but what we are going to do is to build executive flats and housing units for them to move into it free of charge,” he emphasised.
Mr Atta Akyea noted that the growing incidence of slum development in the country was as a result of rural-urban migration, limited supply of land, and regulatory frameworks that were at best, indifferent and hostile to the needs of the poor.
He said even though Nima and Maamobi routinely suffered from inadequate provisions of basic facilities such as housing, water, electricity, and drainage systems, the communities continued to grow.
“The transformation of approximately 1,039 acres of prime land, which Nima and Maamobi occupy, will give meaning and beauty to the President’s vision of Inner City and Zongo Development,” he emphasised.
He said his ministry was collaborating with the Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, Inner City and Zongo Development to make the two communities a world-class residential enclave close to the Jubilee House which was also the seat of government without dislodging the good people who currently dwelled in the area.
Mr Atta Akyea said the complex nature of the whole exercise would require that everybody living in the area was brought on board, as such there was going to be a whole sensitisation and orientation of the people in order for them to come to terms with the whole project.
Touching on the cost of the whole project, he noted that it was going to be a blend of technology and engineering works utilising the 1,039 acre land, thus it would be determined at the end of the day.
In addition to the slum upgrading project, the minister said steps had been taken to deal with the staggering housing deficits that confronted the country, adding that, “Ghana, like many other countries in the developing world, has serious housing challenges.”
He said the country’s housing deficit was currently assessed as well over two million and whereas the annual housing requirement was about 250,000 units, supply figures were about 45,000 units per annum.
Mr Atta Akyea said it was in this light that government was embarking on a housing programme aimed at facilitating the construction of 250,000 housing units yearly over the next eight years, through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“Government has identified housing as a critical sector of the economy for reducing poverty and guaranteeing social stability and national security,” he stressed.
According to him, it was the position of the ministry that unless a revolutionary financial mechanism was deployed, the yawning housing deficit would continue to mock at us for a very long time.
He said as a result, the ministry was working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Finance to create a national housing mortgage fund, adding that, “The fund would be a special purpose vehicle to leverage private capital into housing and infrastructure investments and also enable the Ministry of Works and Housing channel long term appropriate financing towards the housing sector.”
Mr Atta Akyea said the fund would create for the first time in the financial space a credible mortgage regime in the country to enable majority of the people especially workers have their own housing bonds, grants, insurance companies, primary reserve of the central bank, treasury single account and tax incentives.
By Cliff Ekuful