Affordable housing should address the housing needs of the lower or middle income households and it becomes a key issue in developing nations where a majority of the population live below the median household income.
In Ghana, governments over the years have invested heavily in affordable housing projects, but unfortunately most of them never get completed. Affordable housing in Ghana has been challenged in numerous ways; ranging from policy failure, project delay and abandonment.
This unfortunate situation that characterises provision of affordable housing has raised questions about the government’s ability to provide housing for the public.
In 2006, the erstwhile Kuffour administration commenced the construction of affordable houses across the country at Nungua, Borteyman and Kpone in the Greater Accra Region; Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region; Koforidua in the Eastern region; Wa in the Upper West region and Tamale in the Northern region.
Though we do not know the total funding that was injected in all seven projects, reports show that even when government ceded the Borteyman project to the Social Security and National Insurance Trusts (SSNIT) to complete, the company had to spend an extra GH¢195 million on the project.
This is an indication that though the seed capital was colossal yet the project was left to rot, but for the intervention of SSNIT in 2014.
Despite not completing all the Housing projects started by the Kuffuor administration, the Mahama administration initiated another housing project at Saglemi.
The project, which was initiated in 2012, was to deliver 5,000 housing units at a total cost of US$200,000,000.00 under an Engineering-Procurement-Contracting (EPC) Agreement with Messrs Construtora OAS Ghana Limited.
By the end of the stipulated completion date, the original contract of the project had been amended three times, with the project scope reducing from the initial 5,000 housing units to 1,506 housing units.
Despite this reduction, the government could still not complete it. As it stands now, the amount that has been expended on the project so far has become a subject of litigation in court.
Last Sunday, Works and Housing Minister, Francis Asenso Boakye, told newsmen that the government is exploring the possibility of selling the project to a private developer.
According to him, government has already expended approximately US$196 million on the project and does not intend to spend additional money towards its completion.
As good as this news may sound The Chronicle is of the view that it is time the people of Ghana rise up against the construction of these housing projects which later become abandoned.
Even though the intention for the establishment of these affordable housing projects are good, that is, addressing the housing deficit in the country, The Chronicle has observed that most of these projects never get completed.
Governments should not be allowed to expend tax payer’s monies on projects that eventually get abandoned along the way, which lead to sourcing additional funds to complete them.
We must find alternatives to get out of this quagmire and The Chronicle would like to suggest that government should invite the private sector to partner it to help the ordinary Ghanaian.
The Works and Housing Minister is, therefore, right in exploring the possibility of selling the project to a private developer, for that is the way to go.
Let us re- strategise to solve our housing deficit.
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