Ghana Housing Delivery System with about 2.2m units is a private sector led which constitutes about 90% with private means. Owner occupiers are about 57%, persons living in family houses without payment of rent,19.0% and perchers1%, whilstpersons on rent are 22% of the housing stockall based on the 2000 population and housing census. The housing deficit in Ghana is 1.5m and average annual requirement is 130,000 but the delivery is only 40,000
Formal Housing Delivery
The formal housing delivery was stated in 1954 by the Department of Housing. Mamprobi and Kaneshi in Accra, North Suntreso in Kumasi and Kwesimintim in Takoradi were the initial Estates. The State Housing Company took over from the Department of Housing after independence in 1957 and up to date has produced 28,000 houses. Tema Development Company (TDC) and Department of Rural Housing were established for definite purposes; Tema Industrial Urbanisation and Rural Housing needs of the rural societies respectively.
Economic Decline (1970-1990)
The 1970’s and 80’s economic decline for the country created socio- economic problems for the country in the perimeters of Rural- Urban drift, Unemployment slums and squatting in the urban areas with 6.9m now living in the slum areas of the regional capitals of Ghana. Everywhere are found kiosks and containers, stable and habitable built environments are scarce. Rural area houses are all dilapidated because of low saving as a result of the unfavourable terms of trade and low prices for cocoa and coffee hence low incomes to rural dwellers in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Challenges To Housing Delivery
Land cost and litigation
Unavailability of long term funds and inaccessible Housing funds
Obsolete building standards
Weak regulations and mechanisms
The underlining cause for the above challenges is purely financial. There is the need for the state to tackle the problem of Housing needs of the population particularly the poor and moderate income earners which constitute 90% of the population. The available stocks are more favourable to the rich and the upper class.
1. Municipal Authorities should develop social Housing for rentals to the poor and unhoused. Rent to own could be encouraged.
2. Low Cost Houses should be built throughout the country. All slums should be upgrade in the Regional Capitals.
3. Local Government, Agencies and Assemblies should be employed to play their development roles. LI 1630 should be reviewed with modernised building standards which could be enforceable.
4. Building regulatory bodies should be upgraded and restructured to enforce and regulate the industry.
5. The Central Government should play a strong role in the Housing Delivery in Ghana. The Government should establish a Housing Fund and enact a new Housing Law for the establishment of a body called Ghana Housing Authority, similar to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) in the USA established in 1936 and the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC)of the South Africa in 1994. The Government should fund the GHA with an initial Capital of $200 million to kick start National Housing Delivery in the first year of its operation and there after the National budget should provide at least 2% of the annual Government revenue for the budget to GHA. This Body would act as a wholesale financial institution among other functions.
Housing is a basic necessity of life like food and clothing and 1992 Constitution of Ghana recommends its consideration by Government of Ghana for democracy to thrive.
The Capital outlay for the an effective and appropriate Housing Delivery to take care of the poor and moderate income earners is huge and the private sector cannot raise the initial resources.
There should be a funding system like GETFUND or NHIS else no Government in Ghana can succeed in the Housing delivery to the poor and moderate income earners who need that help.
In 1929 when the stock Exchange crushed in the USA and investors lost 90% of their investment value at the stock, the population had 34 million unemployed and 11 million lost their jobs. The masses lost confidence in the currency and started withdrawing all monies from the Banks hence Bank Holidays to stop collapse of the Banks.
Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned and won 1932 election on the ticket of Democratic Party under his ideas and programmes termed the ‘New Deal’ impregnated with programmes and initiatives to bring life and confidence to the America and also to create jobs for the unemployed youth of the American Nation.
Civil Work Administration (CWA)
Work Progress Administration (WPA)
Civil Conservative Corporations (CCC)
Tennessee Valley Authority
Agric Adjustment Act (AAA)
National Industrial Recovery Act
Security and Exchange Commission
Federal Housing Authority (FHA)
A careful look and consideration of all the above programmes with the exception of the concept of the Federal Housing Authority which gave opportunities for the African Americans and other disadvantaged and minority races, like Hispanic also majority poor and moderate income earners had subsidies to acquire homes.
In 2006 when the American Housing bubbles occurred, the private sector Banks which initially did not support or finance the poor or moderate income segment of the population of America rather over credited out of greed which brought near collapse of the Housing and Mortgage market. FHA in 2006 had only 2% share of the mortgage market; hence tax payers’ money was saved. Today, FHA is providing subsidies and mortgage products of 40% of the market giving 500,000 Housing units in America and expected to rise to 800,000 units of Housing in 2014.
South African Experience
In 1994 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and assumed the political leadership under ANC, the Housing Industry in South Africa was skewed towards the whites and Asian minorities to some extent to the total neglect of the Blacks, poor and moderate income earners.
The government intervention was evolved and the Government funded a Housing Delivery System similar to the American experience and this brought improvement in the South African Housing Delivery.
I conclude and state that:
a. Private sector cannot provide the needed Capital proclaimed under the Public Private Partnership Policy as being pursued now. It would not work under Housing Delivery since the problems of Housing is both demand side (affordability) and the supply side (availability). The Government needs to initiate a wholesale fund and encourage the private sector to join through the beneficiaries savings and demand at least a local content of 70% of labour materials and services for job creation efforts and wealth accumulation locally.
b. Let me further state that any attempt to encourage foreign companies or funds from outside with foreign technologies (prefabs and panels) though will bring speedy delivery, it would not be to the benefit of the local economy and it also would fail to create jobs for the population.
All companies to benefit under this programme should be 70% Ghanaian shareholding and parts of its share should be off-loaded into the stock Exchange.
I wish Ghana well, I wish the youth and unemployed well and I hope through this programme which I consider as part of several programs to come, there would be a NEW VISION GHANA.
Nana Odeneho Kyeremateng
Real Estate Lawyer and Developer
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