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01.09.2005 General News

Minister cuts sod for housing project


Accra, Sept 1, GNA- A total of 1,138 affordable housing units are expected to be completed at Borteyman, near Tema, to give accommodation relief to residents of the Accra-Tema metropolis by June 2006. The units comprise 192 one-bedroom flats, 88 one bedroom flats with shops, 608 two bedroom flats, 200 Type C one bedroom cluster of blocks and 50 Type C three bedroom cluster of blocks.

Modern amenities such as police stations, churches, primary and junior secondary schools, playgrounds, open spaces. Parking recreational and commercial centres are also to be provided to serve the neighbourhood.

Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Works and Housing, on Thursday performed the groundbreaking ceremony, the official inauguration for the commencement of the project at the Project Site, Borteyman, near the Nungua Commercial Farms, close to the eastern terminal of the Accra-Tema Motorway.

The Project formed the first phase of the 100, 000 housing units by the Government of Ghana, announced by President John Agyekum Kufour in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament at the beginning of the year, to take place throughout the country to improve the housing situation. An amount of 17 billion out of the 150 billion cedis stated in the 2005 Budget, as initial capital for the housing units, has been released from the HIPC Fund for the Project.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Owusu-Agyemang said the units, when completed, would be for sale and rental, and in order that the units would be affordable to the lower income group, bulk purchases of the building materials were being done to bring down cost. The Works and Housing Minster said a mechanism would be put in place to ensure that no 'middle-men' would be entertained and the houses shall be owner occupied.

A company, which would maintain the site, and ensure that the area would always be neat, would be put in place to manage the completed project on behalf of Government, and also avoid the site becoming a slum.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang said one bedroom flat would cost 85 million cedis, while a two bedroom flat would cost not more that 110 million cedis, adding that, "we want to go down until one bedroom should cost 50 million cedis."

He said Government welcomed private investors into the built industry and that Thailand and Malaysia were in with 1.15 billion dollars to invest in the built industry.

He said Government was also in consultation with the banks, mentioning SSNIT and Barclays on how to amortise housing units. He thanked the chiefs people of Borteyman to for releasing land for the project, and said the project, which he hoped would brighten up the area, would be replicated in Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and other regional capitals and the districts.

Sheikh Ibrahim Codjoe Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister described housing as a tool for development, and expressed the hope that the Project would reduce housing cost, which had become a sensitive issue because of the movement of the mass of people into the metropolis. He called on the people to get on board and throw their support behind the project.

Mr. Ernest Banning, of the Modula Group, the Consultant for the Project, observed that a house the most important material possession a man could ever have, and the design for affordable housing should start with how to minimise the cost of meeting certain criteria for living space as much as possible.

He expressed appreciation to given the role to serve as the Project Consultant