A report on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda (NUA) in the country has been launched with a call on government to intensify the implementation of affordable housing schemes to sell to low and middle-income earners.
The objective of the report is to assess the progress of implementation of the NUA by tracking progress in key performance indicators; identify interventions and contributing towards achieving the commitments.
The launch which coincided with the commemoration of the 22 World Habitat Day yesterday, would also help in identifying the opportunities and constraints towards achieving the commitments; and recommended policy actions to accelerate progress.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye in a speech read on his behalf, said the need to prioritise housing sought to address shortages for a large segment of people living in cities and also ensure that cities were planned and built in a more sustainable and inclusive manner.
“Indeed, housing is very important in any economy, as it provides core security to families, societies and communities. Housing is also a basic need of every one and by convention, every citizen has the right to adequate shelter,” he said.
Mr Asenso-Boakye said government had identified housing as a critical sector of the economy, for reducing poverty and guaranteeing social stability, therefore the need to create a robust institutional framework to develop and implement Affordable Housing Programmes has become very necessary.
“As a result, the ministry is in the process of setting up a Housing Authority. The bill which is currently with the Attorney General’s Department when passed will empower the Authority to regulate, plan, and implement housing programmes that meet the needs and financial aspirations of Ghanaians,” he said
The Director-General, National Development Policy Planning Commission, (NDPC), Dr Kodjo Essiem Mensah-Abrampa said the framework reflects the importance of urban planning, especially during a time of high levels of urbanisation and urban sprawl.
He said the report provided a comprehensive perspective of the requirements for ensuring the development of the urban areas taking into consideration the effects of climate change.
“This report, which is the first to be prepared in Ghana since the endorsement of the Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for all, provides an update on Ghana’s performance in implementing the NUA,” he said.
Dr Mensah-Abrampa said the country’s housing policy was developed with the guiding principles of universality of rights to adequate housing, sustainability and resilience, equity, security, inclusivity, scale and diversity as well as economic empowerment among others.
He said the policy sought to provide adequate, decent and affordable housing that is accessible to satisfy the needs of all people living in the country.
This, he said would lead to green communities and ensure adequate and sustainable funding for the supply of adverse mix of housing in all communities.
The Ministries of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Works and Housing and National Development Planning Commission in a joint statement said they would continue to formulate policies and coordinate the implementation of programmes and projects.
In a speech read on behalf of the UN-Habitat Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the tackling urban poverty and inequality had become a global priority.
BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG