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25.01.2007 Business & Finance

New Board for State Housing Company

By Cynthia Boakye
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Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang has inaugurated a nine member Board of Directors for the State Housing Company.

The board, which has a four year mandate, will oversee the operations of the company, which for a while had been to all intents and purposes moribund until it was transformed into a limited liability company sometime last year.

The Minister tasked members of the new board to ensure that the company filled the 500,000 housing deficit which is one of the main priorities of Government and which has necessitated the initiation of the government's affordable housing scheme.

At a brief ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Minister said, government is determined to provide housing for all Ghanaians no matter their political affiliation. As a result, the NPP government has dedicated the second term of its mandate to pursue measures as well as to create an enabling environment for the private sector to solve the ever increasing housing problem facing the nation.

Over ¢300 billion has so far been pumped into the housing sector, with support and assistance being offered to the private sector and some banks to provide mortgages for the purchase of homes.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang explained that over the last couple of months the cost of building has been increasing, to such an extent that original costs of construction have had to be increased due especially to the changes in the price of cement, a situation that has delayed some projects his ministry was undertaking.

"Though the cedi has been stable, the price of cement keeps escalating. This does not augur well for us and that is why measures are being pursued to put a stop to this practice. That does not mean we want to run people out of their jobs, all we are saying is that prices ought to be realistic,” he stressed.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang tasked members of the board to work efficiently to change the fortunes of the SHCL.

“You have to be imaginative and streamline your staff to ensure efficiency, so you can construct homes that can be sold to regenerate revenue for the government. Government will not build for any body as gratis, all buildings will be sold to persons who really need them not those who will take them and sub-let them at costs that are higher than normal”

The Minister said Government is in discussions with Barclays Bank and others to have special rates and make funds available to contractors who make significant contributions to the construction industry, and called on all departments in the industry to work together to find ways of making housing affordable to all Ghanaians be they socialist or capitalist.

Chairman of the Board, Yaw Nyame, expressed his appreciation to the President for the confidence reposed in them and promised to live up to expectation.

Other members of the board include, Kwesi Yankah, Yaw Tweneboah, Obaa Yaa Afrifa, Ofosu Asamoah, Brig SK Baafi, Nii Ayitey Boafo, Yahaya H Yakubu and Anthony Sarpong Mensah.

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