Government is committed to provide affordable housing for Ghanaians – Minister

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Housing Projects

Dr Freda Prempeh, the Minister of State in-charge of Works and Housing on Friday stressed government’s commitment for a deepened collaboration with the private sector to provide affordable and adequate housing for Ghanaians.

She said the Ministry had already begun processes to bring the private sector in the real estate industry for a workable model that would drive President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of making property acquisition feasible for the working-class.

Dr Prempeh, also the Member of Parliament for Tano North in the Ahafo Region gave the assurance in a speech made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after addressing the opening session of the 2021 Africa Real Estate Conference and Expo (ARCE 2021) in Accra.

The theme for the conference was advancing global markets for sustainable real markets-opportunity to innovate and optimize”.

Dr Prempeh said the government had sought to create an enabling environment by organizing the real estate industry, acquiring and regulating land and housing developments, rationalizing housing subsidies, developing mortgage finance as well as facilitating tax exemptions and holidays for the industry.

“We are strengthening property rights and developing policy and institutional framework to govern housing delivery, especially for private housing developments”, she said.

Ghana’s housing industry, the minister explained, was an emerging one as compared to many advanced countries faced with critical developmental issues including rapid population growth, increasing urbanization and constraints in the housing delivery system.

“The supply of housing especially for low to moderate income households has become one of the most crucial problems currently in Ghana.

“Major aspects of the housing delivery system, including the institutional capabilities, provision of serviced land, finance, infrastructure, materials and skilled labor, have experienced severe constraints resulting in the very acute housing problem especially in the regional capitals”, Dr Prempeh indicated.

“Generally, activities in the housing industry affect the wellbeing of a people in terms of size and composition of household wealth, accessibility to credit, labour productivity, employment and other macroeconomic variables”.

She observed the importance of infrastructure in support of economic growth had long been recognized, saying the provision of infrastructure services to meet the demands of businesses, households and other users remained one of the major challenges of economic development.

“In many surveys conducted by the World Bank Ghana, private investors have cited reliable infrastructure services as an important consideration in their investment decisions. The obvious truth is that infrastructure services contribute to poverty reduction and improvement in living standards in several ways”.

“These services have a strong and direct link to improved health outcomes. For example, water-related illnesses account for a substantial burden of disease in the developing world, exacting high costs in terms of death, malnutrition, stunting and reduced productivity therefore improving water sanitation facilities have been shown to significantly reduce these costs”, Dr Prempeh said.

She explained the Ministry of Works and Housing was currently working with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, National House of Chiefs, selected financial institutions, key private sector players, to discuss and implement appropriate models supported by the needed funding for active participation of all stakeholders in the nation’s housing industry.

Dr Prempeh said registration and acquisition of land titles remained one of the bottlenecks in owning property in the country, and lauded the government’s vigorous digitization drive to formalize all sectors of the Ghanaian economy, in order to stimulate growth and make the provision of services more secure and accessible.

“The digitalization of the Lands Commission and the passage of Ghana’s new Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) brings innovation to the land administration in the country by helping to inform the public about their rights and interests in acquiring and possessing land and by improving the tenure security of interests in land ownership; and by enhancing public accountability in land administration”

She explained the new Act consolidated the existing laws on land and land administration into a single Act, which she believed would greatly address the critical challenges in the land sector and also optimize the contribution of land to the socio-economic development of the country.

Dr Prempeh commended the Ghana Real Estate Professionals Association (GREPA) for its efforts in bringing professionals in the nation’s real estate industry and supporting both local and international networking opportunities for its members.

“We need to create and build assets that will in future prove to be resilient ahead of an unanticipated crisis to buffer families, especially women living in low income neighbourhoods, against such shocks”, she said.

Dr Prempeh underscored the importance for the nation to seed funds for social housing which would empower recipient target groups to sustain their livelihoods through scaling existing or developing new business initiatives that would generate business value and social impact in communities.

“Our Ministry is of the opinion that real estate industry professionals can do more in helping to achieve lower costs of construction through innovative designs which use good alternative local materials, where female headed households can afford to procure such units and enjoy some decent living”.

“Ghana is well endowed with building materials; we have clay, wood, steel that go a long way to reduce the cost of imported items as well as construction which largely affects the prices of homes”, she said.

“The vision of the NPP government for the housing sector is to use an appropriate mix of public policy and public private investments to deliver quality, affordable social housing and private solutions that meet the needs and financial capacity of the ordinary Ghanaian”, Dr Prempeh added.

Story By Dennis Peprah

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