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Asenso Boakye pledges to complete Saglemi Housing Project

Mr Francis Asenso Boakye, the Minister-designate for Works and Housing, has commended the Saglemi Housing Project, describing it as a laudable initiative to decongest the capital city, Accra.

He has thus hinted of engaging stakeholders on best financing options to complete the project which has been abandoned since the NPP government assumed power in 2017. 

The Bantama MP said he has received briefing on the project and was determined to ensure its completion for the benefit of Ghanaians. 

Mr Boakye who made this pledge when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament in Accra on Wednesday said whatever issues may surround the project, the taxpayer’s money should not be allowed to go waste.

His assurance comes despite claims by his predecessor, Samuel Atta Akyea, that the contractual agreement for the provision of the 1,500 housing units was fraught with corruption.

Even though whatever flaws in the project needed to be investigated and those found culpable brought to book, he said it had become expedient to complete the project for citizens, especially residents of Accra. 

According to him, the 40,000 housing units Ghana produces annually over the years has not been adequate considering the fact that the country’s housing deficits stands at approximately two million units.

“This means if we intend to close the gap we have to be producing 200,000 housing units each year.

“This is a very huge gap that requires different strategies from what we have been pursuing over the past years,” he stated.

This, he said needed government’s active intervention, for which the governing New Patriotic Party’s 2020 electioneering manifesto pledge would be implemented. 

“For some time now we have not had a clear institutional framework that will guide the implementation of housing policies in the country.

“There is, therefore, the need to establish a national housing authority for the planning and management of housing delivery.”

With this, the authority, he said, would be tasked with creating land banks and providing infrastructure and utilities to be called serviced sites.

Under such an arrangement, he said government would absorb the cost of the land, infrastructure and utilities, which comprise about 50 per cent of the cost of building a house.

By this, the cost of building a house would have reduced by 50 per cent. 

A New Rent Act

He hinted that government would amend the Rent Act to allow home owners take as much as a year’s advance payment from their tenants. 

This is because provisions in the existing Act, Act 1963, which limits home owners to a maximum of six months advance, has been unrealistic as a result of demand and supply in the housing space. 

He said the intended amended Act would have considered all prevailing economic conditions in the country and interest of the tenant and the home owner and that it would be enforced vigorously. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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