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11.05.2007 General News

Govt Partners Firm To Build More Houses

Govt Partners Firm To Build More Houses

The government has released 150 acres of its land bank to a United States/Ghanaian partnership firm to construct 2,500 affordable housing units at Kpone, near Tema.

The project is expected to begin in 30 days with the construction of single and two bedroom apartments to be sold to civil servants, teachers and nurses on mortgage basis.

An agreement for the project was yesterday signed between the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, and Dr Steve Ams, Chief Executive Officer of Global Interest LLC of the USA and Goshen International Company.

The minister said the government had already completed its due diligence on the company and was satisfied with its sources of finance, which included The Chase Bank in the USA.

The project comes at a time when the country is faced with an acute housing shortage of 500 units per annum.

The project, which will be spread to the regional capitals and some selected district capitals, will have its site serviced with good sewage systems and street lights and will be executed over a period of five years with an investment of about $64.5 million.

It will also contain auxiliary services such as markets, schools, police and fire stations, as well as lorry parks.

It has been estimated that about 120,000 housing units annually was required within the next couple of years to put to rest the housing problems faced by workers in the country.

The government for its part has taken a bold initiative and is presently constructing more than 3,000 housing units in various parts of the country to solve the housing problem.

At sites at Kpone, Nungua and Borteman, some of the houses are being roofed while others are having their electrical installation towards their completion by the end of the year.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman said the government had secured 50,000 acres of land nationwide purposely for housing projects and said these would be given out to any purposeful investor to provide housing units to add to the national stock.

He said the government had also secured $30 million for a private company known as Opic to release as mortgage to interested workers in the country to acquire their own houses.

The mortgage system is to save them the payment of rent and break the back of the old problem of three to four years advance payment demanded by house owners and landlords.

The housing project will also provide more than 60,000 people with accommodation and generate various types of employment over the period.

The Chief Executive Officer of Global Interests LLC, Dr Steve Ams, said the firm decided to team up with the ministry due to the investor friendly environment in the country.

He described the partnership between Global Interests LLC and Goshen International Company on one hand and the government on the other as one important move that would ease the housing problem in Ghana, adding that “the firm would do its best to expedite action on the project and ensure that majority of Ghanaians own affordable and quality houses”.

Story by Charles Benoni Okine

& Bella Frances Nkansah