As part of measures to do away with Ghana’s two million housing deficit, the Akufo-Addo government has said it intends building between 190,000 and 200,000 housing units yearly for the next 10 years.
The 10-year housing deficit eradication plan is estimated to cost the country about US$3.4 billion every year.
Mr Atta Akyea bemoaned the “sorry situation in which we find ourselves”, saying: “No wonder we are struggling with a housing deficit which is now in excess of 2 million housing units”.
The minister has, therefore, inaugurated a National Housing Committee on affordable housing.
The Committee is made up of representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Roads and Highways; the Architects Registration Council, Public Servants Housing Loan Scheme Board, Rural Housing Department; Architectural and Engineering Services Limited; the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, Ghana Water Company Limited, Power Distribution Services Ghana, and the Lands Commission.
It has been charged to craft a policy to promote the building of communities and ensure equitable distribution of affordable houses, oversee infrastructure development such as roads, water and electricity connections to new sites, and implement the social housing component.
At the inauguration ceremony, Mr Atta Akyea urged the members to bridge the housing deficit by identifying and creating land banks and helping with land acquisition for the projects.
The Committee is expected to come up with relevant solutions to the housing crisis by October 2020.
It is chaired by Mr Atta Akyea with support from his deputy, Mrs Barbara Asher Ayisi.
The announcement of the committee coincides with concerns expressed by the Minority in parliament that some 1,412 affordable houses at Saglemi have been left to rot since the Akufo-Addo government took office in January 2017.
At an on-site press conference by the Minority members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, the Ranking Member, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, wondered why so many houses would be left to rot while the housing deficit inches up – almost hitting two million.
Mr Bedzrah told journalists that on Friday, 31 October 2012, parliament granted an approval of $200 million for the construction of the affordable houses at Saglemi near Tsopoli in the Ningo Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region.
The contract, he said, was a turnkey project classified under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), which, he explained, gave the contractor “the responsibility of designing, procurement and construction”, adding that “after the completion of the project, it will be handed over to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing”.
The project is being undertaken by Messrs Construtora OAS Limited as the contractor with the client being the Ministry of Works and Housing. Ridge Management Solution, RSM Ghana Limited is serving as the consultant for the project.
The contract, according to the Minority, was awarded on the 27th of February 2014 with an initial completion date being 1 March 2016.
A total of 5,000 housing units were to be delivered at the end of the contract.
“The initial housing units to be delivered under Phase I is supposed to be 1, 412”, said Mr Bedzrah.
The lawmaker told journalists that the Select Committee on Works and Housing visited the site on Thursday, 11 April 2019 in the company of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea; and his deputy, Mrs Barbara Asher Ayisi; and observed that the needed on-site social infrastructure and facilities such as an electricity distribution board, street lights, open spaces, tarred roads and covered drains had all been provided.
He said: “The Phase I of the project, which comprises 1,412 units consisting of two- and three-bedrooms, 116 normal town housing units, have practically been completed, one of which has been designated for a police station. 636 units out of the 1,024 were also completed for occupation”.
The remaining 388, he said, have been 70 per cent completed.
Meanwhile, the sector minister explained to Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Tuesday evening that his office is waiting for an advice from the Attorney General regarding how to deal with the project, since some anomalies have been detected with the contract.
Mr Atta Akyea wondered why only over 600 units have been completed when about 90 per cent payment had been made to the contractor.
According to him, the government is considering terminating the contract, adding that the AG, Ms Gloria Akuffo, has assured him that her office is almost done perusing the voluminous contract documents she had been studying and would soon proffer an advice as to the way forward.