In the past 18months there have been a lot said about Ghana’s housing crisis. The Finance Minister’s budget statements suggest there is something in the pipeline.
However, those of us in the housing and built environment profession worry that action on housing is slow. Though one should avoid jumping the gun, it is of concern when it was announced on 13 August 2018, that the Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has cut sod for work to begin on the construction of 320 Housing units for the Ghana Police Service.
This is of concern because over the year’s government backed housing schemes had followed one main approach, i.e. producing an output on a set date in the future. The completed houses and immediate environment may look beautiful and clean, but more often than not a year or two later the place will look very much run down.
Housing and the lack thereof is seriously impacting our socio-economic development. It is hoped that this writing would kick start a debate among all concerned Ghanaians that housing in Ghana deserves a lot more attention than it is currently receiving. For far too long housing has been seen as a social intervention rather than as a contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Until we see housing as a contributor to economic growth and its value is well captured and stated in annual budget statements we will never resolve the housing deficit problem. Currently the housing deficit is estimated at 2million. It is not clear how this figure was derived, however it is open knowledge that the demand for housing far outstrips the supply. And the houses some of our citizens live in are very embarrassing to say the least. Since independence successive governments have attempted to implement various initiatives to tackle this problem, however these initiatives could not be sustained.
There have been schemes like the workers housing, low cost housing and bungalows for civil servants and staff of state owned enterprises. We can also mention the schemes developed by SSNIT, State Housing Corporation (SHC) and Tema Development Corporation (TDC). These organisations have been the most active state institutions who have attempted to develop or build houses for the Ghanaian worker.
Unfortunately these housing schemes managed by these corporations barely resolved the housing problems in terms of the annual unit output. The way these housing schemes are delivered and managed do not offer returns on investment in the long-term. There is therefore an
urgent need to create new structures and approaches to deliver and efficiently manage housing initiatives in Ghana.
Let us examine two recent housing developments initiated under the Kufour and Mahama led administrations. Both schemes were fantastic ideas only they were never completed. President Kufour initiated a four thousand, seven hundred (4,700) nationwide Affordable Housing Unit Project.
These affordable housing units were located at:
⭕ Nungua, Borteyman and Kpone in the Greater Accra region.
⭕Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti region
⭕Koforidua in the Eastern region.
⭕Wa in the Upper West region.
⭕Tamale in the Northern region.
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