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15.09.2005 Business & Finance

Exhibition on housing opens in Accra

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 15, GNA - The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Hackman Owusu- Agyemang on Thursday asked architects and engineers to explore other cost effective technologies that were relevant and suitable for achieving truly affordable housing.

"The cost of housing in Ghana is very high, which means there are things, which we are not doing right. Among the cost factors is the cost of building materials and services; there is too much reliance on imported materials; we need to use more of local building materials", the Minister stressed.

Speaking at the opening of the Third International Building Exhibition and Seminar in Accra, Mr Owusu-Agyemang said the design of a truly affordable low-income housing was a specialty and an art that professionals should cultivate to enable most Ghanaians with their current salary levels afford their products and services.

Over 65 companies in the building and construction industry are participating in the four-day exhibition, under the theme: " Build it Right-Effective and Efficient Construction from Foundation to Furnishing".

The Royal Protocol Management Services and Image Consortium, local consultancy firms are the organisers of the exhibition, which is being run alongside seminars that would discuss the cost of construction and promotion of effective maintenance culture among other things.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang commended the event organisers and expressed the hope to see more local building materials and components exhibited at the show and also a follow-up establishment of manufacturing or processing plants for building materials for the growth of a vibrant local building industry.

He said the Government had adopted a two-pronged approach to mobilise funds both domestically and internationally to support the housing sector in its effort to remove financial bottlenecks in housing delivery in Ghana.

"On the domestic front, the Government has requested the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to review its involvement in the provision of housing and to resume a more active role. It is anticipated that SSNIT will invest substantially, in the provision of housing in the immediate future", the Minister indicated. The NTHC has also been requested to mobilise funds through various instruments as housing bonds for the sector.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang said the Ministry was also reviewing the National Housing Policy with the aim of increasing availability, accessibility and affordability of housing for the majority of Ghanaians.

The policy, he said, would be ready by the close of the year. The Minister further indicated that, all Regional Ministers had been contacted to negotiate for between for land in every regional and district capitals for the extension of the affordable housing project, which the Government had embarked upon to accommodate workers in the country.

Mrs Efua Houadjeto, Managing Director of Image Consortium and Exhibition Director for the Fair, said the essence of the fair was to showcase quality, innovative products and services for all stages of construction, finishing and furnishing as well as dialoguing on current issues impacting on stakeholders in the construction and building industry.

She said this year the utility companies were participating for the first time, describing it as a good thing since they featured prominently in the building sector in the area of utility provision. She said a similar exhibition was scheduled for Kumasi in the Ashanti region from September 29 to October 1 as part of efforts to extend the show to all regions.

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