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27.07.2005 General News

Government urged to review policy on housing


Fumesua (Ash), July 27, GNA - A proposal has been made to the government to review its housing policy to ensure that about 30 per cent of local materials are used in the construction of all public buildings. Such buildings should include schools, hospitals and offices of ministries and departments.

Mr. Kwaku Amoah-Mensah, Director of the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), who made the proposal, said such an initiative would not only demonstrate government's genuine concern for propagating the use of indigenous materials in the building industry but would also help cut down cost.

Mr Amoah-Mensah was addressing a press conference organised by the BRRI at Fumesua near Kumasi on Wednesday to highlight on the impact of high cost of building in recent times in the country as a result of over- reliance on imported constructional inputs.

The conference was also to suggest and advocate for the use of locally developed construction materials by the Institute, including bricks and the composite pozzolana, a type of cement product developed by the Institute using clay as raw material.

The director stated that apart from reducing cost on public buildings, the use of the pozzolana cement and bricks for construction would also result in training and employment for the idling youth while also ensuring capital retention in the country.

On the issue of raw materials for bricks and the pozzolana cement, he stated that large deposits of clay had been identified in about 10 areas in the country, saying, "These deposits have the capacity of sustaining the housing industry for several years."

Mr Amoah-Mensah commended the Ejisu-Juaben and Bosomtwe-Atwima-Kwanwoma districts for collaborating with the institute to put up some of their buildings using the brick and pozzolana cement. He appealed to other district assemblies to emulate their initiative and not only wait for any policy or directive to do so in view of the benefit to be derived from it.

Mr Francis K. Afukaar, Deputy Director of the BRRI, said, "until this philosophy of perceiving imported constructional materials as superior to our local ones is changed, the building industry will never grow at the desired rate".

He said, that perception is wrong and time had come for Ghanaians to explore their own local resources to put up their buildings since that is the only guarantee to accelerate development of the housing industry.