The issue of the ever rising price of cement took centre stage when a nine-member board of directors of the State Housing Company Limited was inaugurated in Accra on Wednesday.
Currently, a bag of cement is sold at between ¢60,000 and ¢70,000 on the open market in Accra, instead of the official price of ¢47,000. The situation has affected government's policy of providing affordable houses to Ghanaians.
In the light of this, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, has advised local manufacturers of cement to put measures in place to stabilise prices because failure to do so could compel government to import cement to carry out its agenda.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the Ministry was exploring all possibilities of injecting competition into the cement manufacturing sector to protect local consumers, adding 'we shall be derelict in our functions if we fail to protect the consumers'.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman argued that there ought to be some justification for such increases in the prices of cement.
He said government has spent over ¢300 billion over the past two years as start-up capital for the housing project and it expects to construct about 100,000 housing units by the end of next year.
He said the Ministry was in talks with some overseas investors to assist in constructing houses that would go for 6,000 dollars, down from the 13,000 dollars per one bedroom house.
'We are aiming at bringing the cost down to as low as 5 or 4,000 dollars', he indicated.
The Chairman of the board, Mr Yaw Nyame, expressed the gratitude of the board to the President for the trust reposed in them
The other board members are Professor Kwesi Yankah, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Mr Yaw Tweneboah, a private consultant, Obaa Yaa Afrifa, a businesswoman and Mr Ofosu Asamoah, Member of Parliament for Kade.
Others are Brigadier Samuel Kwame Baafi, a presidential aide, Yahaya H. Yakubu, a representative of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and architect and Mr A. Sarpong Mensah, Managing Director of SHCL.