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24.04.2007 General News

Government reviews national housing policy

By myjoyonline

The government has reviewed the National Housing Policy to make houses affordable and accessible to low income earners in the country.

The new policy, known as the National Shelter Policy, makes specific recommendations in respect of improved access to land with legitimate title for housing and also outlines policies for the production and use of local building materials in the construction industry.

A Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, announced this in Nairobi, Kenya, when she addressed the plenary meeting of the 21st session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT).

The deliberations of the Governing Council were on the theme, "Sustainable Urbanisation: Local Action for Poverty Reduction with Emphasis on Finance and Planning.

Mrs Dapaah said the new policy recommended the establishment of a National Shelter Fund, which would be used for affordable mortgages, slum upgrading, construction finance and support for small-scale building materials producers.

She said the draft policy had also recommended the establishment of a National Shelter Commission which would administer the fund and coordinate all shelter issues.

The deputy minister said a housing directorate to give more attention to shelter issues had been created following recommendations form the document and expressed appreciation to UN-HABITAT for the $20,000 financial and technical support which was given for the exercise.

Mrs Dapaah said the government had also requested the Law Reform Commission of Ghana to review the Rent Act of 1963 to ensure equity among landlords and tenants and to make rentals more attractive to investors.

She said the government had also decided on the sale throughout the country of about 6,000 government low cost houses built in 1972 to sitting tenants with the view to raising additional capital for the construction of other affordable housing units and making it possible for low income earners to own houses.

Mrs Dapaah said realising the problems inherent in land acquisition, the government, through the ministry, sourced for about 50,000 acres of land throughout the country for the implementation of the national housing programme and created land banks to make land readily available to private investors who found it difficult to obtain land with good title.

Credit: Dialy Graphic