The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has assured the nation that the government's Affordable Housing Project is on course.
He said 60 blocks, containing about 800 housing units, would be completed by the end of the year.
Alhaji Saddique Boniface gave the assurance recently, during an inspection tour to the some of the facilities at Kpone and Burteman, both in the Greater Accra Region.
He disclosed that a total of 325 local contractors were engaged in the construction of the projects in all the six sites, notably, Borteyman, Kpone, Asokore-Mampong in Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale and Wa, all in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Northern and Upper West regions respectively, while GH¢52.67 million has been spent on the projects.
Alhaji Saddique Boniface added that a total of 5,162 housing units were under construction in all the existing sites, and that they were at various stages of completion.
He revealed that the government had planned to build a total of 600 housing units, under the first phase, in the remaining six regional capitals of Sunyani, Sekondi/Takoradi, Ho, Bolgatanga and Cape Coast, in the Brong-Ahafo, Western, Volta, Upper East and Central regions.
The overall objective of the Affordable Housing Programme is to provide houses to low and middle income workers of the country, who are often faced with acute accommodation problems and retired from active service, without a roof to lay their heads, Alhaji Saddique Boniface noted.
At the sites, workers were seen busily working, with some of them plastering and building, while others were connecting water pipes.
The Project Engineer at the Kpone site, Mr. Joseph Kofi Allotey, disclosed that 16 of the flats, which had been plastered, were ready for painting, and hoped that 25 blocks would be completed in November, this year.
At Borteyman, near Nungua, Alhaji Mohammed Ofori, Chief Supervisor of Habitat Ghana Limited, was unhappy with the delay in getting blocks, though he had been given mobilisation funds.
Speaking to the paper later, Alhaji Saddique Boniface announced that the government had released an amount of $10 million to the HFC Bank Limited, as a revolving fund for the Public Sector Employees' Housing Scheme.
Under the scheme, public sector workers can access funds up to GH¢25,000, to complete or purchase their own houses.
The Minister was quick to reveal that “several investors have shown an interest in the delivery of houses for Ghanaians, and the Ministry has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with prospective investors in that regard. Some of the proposals are quite advanced. Among them are the Renaissance Management Group of USA -$250 million and Sithru Malaysia - $120million.”
However, Alhaji Saddique Boniface said the process of the MOU seemed a bit slow, because of the due diligence that had to be done on these proposed investments.
The Ministry has also sourced about 50,000 acres of land in the Greater Accra Region, and other Regional and District capitals, purposely for the government's National Housing Programe and associated infrastructure development.
The main objective is to establish land bank systems, to facilitate the access to land by developers.
Alhaji Saddique Boniface expressed gratitude to the chiefs and individual landowners, who have voluntarily offered their land to the programme.
Touching on the draft National Housing Policy, he indicated that the policy had been ready for some time now, but had to undergo a Strategic Environmental Assessment. “We are waiting for the report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), before submitting the draft document to Cabinet.”
The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, and some other collaborating agencies, are implementing the Accra Government Residential Areas Redevelopment Project, as part of the urban renewal strategy, with the objective to maximise the use of existing prime lands, and increase housing densities, Alhaji Saddique Boniface intimated.