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22.03.2007 General News

Affordable housing for Koforidua residents

By The Statesman

A 106-acre piece of land is being cleared close to the Koforidua-Akwadum road for the construction of 64 blocks of affordable housing to help ease the accommodation problems in the New Juaben Municipality.

They would contain a total of 3,506 apartments when completed, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang disclosed when he visited the site on Monday with the Eastern Regional Minister, Yaw Barimah, and the New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Kwasi Adjei Boateng.

The Housing Minister said a self-contained apartment with all facilities would go for ¢120 million, with payment to be spread over 20 years. The cost, he said, would be half the market value.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang disclosed that each block would have two shops to sell essential commodities, explaining that it would help to prevent the use of private container shops in the area. "We will want the environment to be clean. We don't want the place to develop a slum.”

He said 4,000 of such houses ewre ready at Tema and Accra, expressing the hope that by the end of next year about 20,000 houses would have been provided nationwide.

The project is self-financing. “Immediately we complete them we shall sell and re0-invest for more houses. It will not create any financial burden on the economy, the houses would pay for themselves,” Mr Owusu-Agyemang said.

About ¢250 billion, from an American Bank, the African Development Bank and the HIPC Fund, has been set aside for the project.

Mr Barimah said the site of the Koforidua project was originally meant for a regional hospital, but the need for housing has become greater whilst funds for the hospital are not yet ready. A new site would be found for the hospital at the appropriate time, he assured.

He announced that a total of ¢2.3bn has been paid as compensation to farmers and other property owners; work would begin at the end of this month.