Accra, May 17, (Palaver) -- The NPP-in-Opposition made the following promise to the people of Ghana in the housing sector:
“The NPP proposes to launch a special “Housing the People Scheme” which shall focus on low-cost housing, urban renewal and rural housing——A home ownership mortgage insurance will be established, whilst mortgage banks will be encouraged. The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) will be encouraged to assist in the development of local building materials and participate in mortgage insurance for workers”. (NPP 2000 Manifesto, Paragraph 126.96.36.199). NPP-in-Office After more than 4 years in office, the NPP has not fulfilled a single one of these promises and not a single house has been built for the people. What the NPP Government has done in the area of housing is contained in the Party's self-serving, pre-election document titled “So Far, So Very Good”.
In Chapter 12, at pages 84-85, the NPP states that it is in the process of acquiring land; it is in the process of preparing designs; it is in the process of contracting loans; and it is in the process of selling the few low cost houses that it came to meet. NPP Housing Policy In contrast, the NPP policy of “Housing the People” has been converted into one of “Housing the Ministers”.
Renovation/Rehabilitation/Refurbishment/Refurnishing of Presidential and Ministerial Residences
The first thing that the NPP did in the housing sector on assuming office was to cause massive renovations to be made to President Kufuor's private residence at public expense (about ¢500 million), out of which ¢46 million was voluntarily refunded by a poor farmer Marfo who, after being produced from nowhere by then Minister of Works and Housing Kwamena Bartels, has since vanished into oblivion; to renovate President Kufuor's official residence at the Castle, Osu (about ¢3 billion); to renovate the official residence of Vice President Aliu Mahama (about ¢1 billion); and to renovate, rehabilitate, refurbish and refurnish the official bungalows of all Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Special Assistants, and other political office holders (about ¢20 billion ). “Housing the Ministers” Of course given the size of the NPP Government, the then existing stock of Government bungalows and residences was bound to be insufficient. So the Government embarked on a grandiose plan of building brand new houses, bungalows, residences, apartments and condominiums, expensively styled, tastefully decorated, and lavishly furnished, all over the capital, to house their growing number of Ministers and officials.
This they did by pulling down the old colonial bungalows in the plush and salubrious environs of Ridge, North Ridge, Ringway, Cantonments, Switchback, etc, and putting up condominiums and apartments fit for Kings and Oriental nabobs but inhabited by Ministers and officials of HIPC Ghana some of whom barely 4 years ago could hardly afford the price of a two-bedroom rental unit.
Today, on these pages and through these pictures, we bring you vivid and telling testimony of how the NPP's “Housing the People” policy has become a “Housing the Ministers” policy.
The pictures provide stunning evidence of “A People Betrayed” and are worse than anything that George Orwell could have imagined when he was about to put pen to paper to write the immortal “Animal Farm” fable
And now, the evidence. Ridge, Six-Block Condominium opposite Ridge Church The site for this project was acquired by pulling down an old colonial bungalow last occupied by the late Mr. K. B. Ayensu, first Clerk of Parliament. The completed condominium complex of six apartment blocks was constructed by CIHSD (The Consortium) for the Ministry of Works and Housing.
At an estimated cost of ¢5 billion per block, the total cost of construction and furnishing is about ¢30 billion. It has been completed and is in occupation. Ringway, Behind Police Headquarters Sixteen luxurious apartments are under construction on previously state-owned virgin land. Construction work is being undertaken by CIHSD (The Consortium), with Vista Ltd as the architects, Multi Group Consultants as the electrical engineers, Sages & Co as the mechanical engineers, and Comptran Engineering as the structural engineers.
At an estimated cost of ¢6 billion per apartment, this complex works out to a total cost of about ¢96 billion. Switchback Road, near the Basket Weavers Site An empty space opposite the former Algerian Embassy is bristling with activity. About 4 Ministerial residences are coming up and are presently at lintel level stage.
Estimated at about ¢4 billion per block, we are looking at an expenditure of ¢16 billion. Cantonments, Opposite Du Bois Centre Twenty Ministerial apartments are coming up. At an estimated cost of ¢3 billion per apartment, the total cost works out to about ¢60 billion.
Cantonments, Opposite US Embassy Staff Complex An empty space opposite the US Embassy Staff Complex around the Cantonments Roundabout, near the French Ambassador's Residence, is the site for the construction of 8 de luxe Ministerial apartments at an estimated cost of ¢3.5 billion each. The total cost amounts to ¢28 billion. North Ridge, Opposite PAWA House This is a completed, four 4-storey blocks of apartments, constructed by Messrs. Rinacand Ltd, with the Ministry of Roads and Transport as the client. Each block is estimated at about ¢4 billion, making a total of ¢16 billion. The apartments are yet to be allocated and occupied. A People Betrayed An estimated total cost of approximately ¢252.5 billion has so far been spent on the NPP's “Housing the Ministers” Scheme. A total of about 80 Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Spokespersons, etc have been or are due to be accommodated in these apartments, bungalows and residences.
If this amount had been spent on low-cost houses or on the NPP's own “Housing the People Scheme” for workers and ordinary Ghanaians at a cost of even ¢100 million per low-cost house, the amount of ¢252.2 billion could have put up over two thousand, five hundred (2,500) low-cost houses!
Even worse is the intelligence that 'Ghana Palaver' has picked up that the NPP Government intends to sell these houses to the sitting “tenants”, that is, the NPP Ministers and officials who will be living in them, when the Party is leaving office.
The sale, we are informed, will be at seriously depreciated prices, and will be by specific auction as was done to Government bungalows that the NPP sold to themselves and their cronies on assuming office.
Our further information is that the houses will be sold at less than half their actual values, and will include all the furnishings, both hard and soft, with what the English call “all mod cons”.
Unless the TUC and other workers' organisations are able to do something about it, this is likely to be the “rape of the century”.