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26.11.2007 Politics

Jake To Promote Use Of Local Building Materials

A presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, has said that one of the basic aspirations of every Ghanaian worker is to retire into his own home.

He expressed regret, however, that all attempts by various governments to put in place housing schemes in the country had failed.

He said Dr Nkrumah tried with the State Housing Corporation, Acheampong also set up the Bank for Housing and Construction, and the Home Finance Company coming under the PNDC/NDC regime to help house the people but all those efforts did not succeed.

The one-time Campaign Manager for the NPP said this during his tour of the Eastern Region to interact with some foot soldiers, constituency executives, polling station chairmen and opinion leaders of the NPP.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey attributed the failure of all those efforts to the over-dependence on the use of imported building materials, when the income levels of Ghanaian workers was low.

He stressed the need to rely more on the use of local building materials, which did not involve the use of much foreign exchange.

He expressed regret, however, that because of the lack of political will to promote the use of local building materials, those housing and mortgage schemes had always failed and deprived a large section of the people of access to housing.

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey declared that under his administration, he would show the way in the use and promotion of local building materials in the development of public infrastructure to reinforce confidence and deal with the negative perception of people that local materials were inferior.

“We brag in this country that the Ghanaian Diaspora repatriates over two to three billion cedis into the economy, but it is a roundabout in the sense that they bring in the money to build houses in readiness for their retirement, but the monies go straight to Scancom in Norway because we buy their cement,“ he lamented.

“It goes back to Italy because we buy their doors and windows. But countries like India have demonstrated clearly that bamboo can be used as alternative to roof, door panels and various aspects in building.

“And so if we decide to develop it, we would indirectly be conserving foreign exchange and at the same time stimulating the local building material industry for the money to stay in our pockets, and also stimulate the macro economy,” he explained.

Jake's Campaign Manager, Mr Joseph Asamoah-Gyamfi, said a car and a house were status symbols in Ghana, and that a little survey had shown that virtually not less than 20,000 cars were licensed, most of which were purchased with loans of between $9,000 and $15,000 every year.

In view of that, he said by promoting the use of local building materials, it would be possible to build a two-bedroom house for $ 15,000, and workers would prefer taking housing loans to car loans.

He said that was because the car was a liability to the worker and would depreciate in value in less than four years as against the house, which would appreciate in value in five years.

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