Home News Govt values the important role contractors play in nation building – Minister

Govt values the important role contractors play in nation building – Minister

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Francis Asenso-Boakye
Francis Asenso-Boakye

Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, the Minister of Works and Housing says government has not ignored contractors but rather value the important role they play in the country’s development environment.

“We would like to remind you that you have not been ignored but we recognise your important role within the construction environment”, he stated.

He said the housing sector was of great importance to the economy and a dependable indicator for measuring the economic growth of the country.

Mr Asenso-Boakye said this in a speech read on his behalf at the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG) held in Wa.

He said government would continue to collaborate and create the enabling environment for the housing sector to thrive.

Mr Asenso-Boakye who was the guest of honour, said the vision of the government for the housing sector was to use an appropriate mix of public and private sector investments to deliver quality, safe and affordable housing solutions to meet the needs and financial capacity of the people.

“The government is aware of the importance of investing in the construction industry since it is one of the driving forces for the infrastructure development, as well as contributing to the sustainable development of the country”, he said.

The Works and Housing Minister said the census report on housing characteristics had revealed that approximately 12.7 per cent of the total structures counted were vacant housing units.

He said it gave a clear indication that the housing supply had out- priced the average person in Ghana and failed to address the housing needs of a significant segment of the society.

He said the government had therefore prioritised the delivery of affordable housing units over the medium term and further desired to institute a programmatic approach to addressing the affordability gap and increase access to various types of affordable housing, thereby reducing the housing deficit.

“In doing so, the Ministry intended to create the enabling environment to support affordable housing, induce private sector investment and engender the mobilization capacity of the not-for-profit sector towards meeting the needs of lower income households and other vulnerable groups”, he said.

The prevailing strategy of the government to secure land banks and provide the requisite infrastructure services to the sites, designated as affordable housing enclaves, to leverage private sector investment for affordable housing construction.

Mr Prosper Ledi, the National President of the ABCECG raised concerns about the adhoc land acquisition, especially in the Accra Plains, which was reserved as a food basket zone several years ago, which would eventually affect food crop production.

Another red flag he raised was the unbridled use of arable land for housing including private farmlands, which were now being used to construct houses instead of production of food crops.

He said it was not surprising that food inflation for March was very high at 22.4 per cent when the overall inflation was 19.4 percent; noting that if care was not taken, Ghana would suffer serious food insecurity issues in the near future.

“The development of infrastructure in national reserves, the pollution of water bodies with chemicals and the plastic waste menace, land degradation through bush burning, the exportation of unprocessed timber and the underpayment of farmers who grow the timber, among others were all unsustainable”, he said.

Mr Ledi said the ABCECG and its team of consultants were preparing everything necessary to obtain project funding to address the gaping housing and infrastructure deficit.

“We believe it must be done in close collaboration with the Housing Ministry, Lands Commission, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, and the Ministry of Roads and Highways and all other relevant agencies”, he said.

He said the ABCECG was also committed to finding innovative ways to enhance members’ chances at getting projects from both public and private sector clients.

In that regard, consultants had been engaged to build the capacities of contractors through on site training during the pilot housing projects, which would be built using appropriate construction technologies to help enhance competitiveness.

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