Gov’t weighs up land banks for affordable housing

…lobbying SSNIT for a slice of pension funds

The Ministry of Works and Housing has commenced moves to secure land banks for real estate developers to partner government deliver affordable housing nationwide.

The ministry is also lobbying the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to dedicate a percentage of pension funds to the provision of affordable housing for contributors.

With the country’s housing deficit projected to reach 2million units by 2020 and with the difficulty developers go through to secure land for housing projects, Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Eugene Boakye Antwi, noted that the ministry has taken a couple of steps to help bridge the gap.

“I have requested my colleague regional ministers to facilitate the acquisition of parcels of land in their respective regions to create land banks to be accessed by all real estate developers, both local and foreign, to roll out safe, secure and low income affordable housing units throughout the country,” he said.

“The recent phenomenon of high mortality of pensioners within five years of retirement is a worrying situation confronting all stakeholders. Something must be done about it,” Mr. Antwi added at the 2018 edition of the annual Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) CEOs Breakfast Meeting at the World Bank head office, Accra.

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With the right support and policy frameworks, government can solve both the housing problem and create jobs in a sustainable way, he said.

In addition to the growing housing deficit, data further suggest that over 50percent of Ghanaians live in sub-standard houses, including dilapidated inner-city dwellings, uncompleted houses, shops, kiosks and other unsuitable structures.

“It is never too late to pick up the pieces from where we are now, and to challenge you, the developers, in partnership with all other stakeholders, to embark on a crusade to confront the worsening deficit. Nothing comes easy and this will call for pragmatic and collaborative interventions if anything consequential is to be achieved,” he said.

“There is the need for government to create the enabling environment to entice as many mortgage institutions in the country to aid every citizen in acquiring a decent home,” he added.

On provision of quality homes

The Deputy Minister lauded GREDA on steps the association has taken to insist on quality control measures within its fold as a means to address the increasing public sentiments on the subject of quality.

He also urged GREDA members to adhere to the newly reviewed Building Code. “It is my considered opinion that adherence to the newly reviewed Building Code will constitute a major step in your quality control measures. Quality building materials and good workmanship will, together, also play a significant role in achieving good quality of the houses you deliver to the public,” he said.

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Mr. Antwi also drew the attention of the GREDA members to the Professional Practice Training Handbook for Architects which the Architects Registration Council (ARC), the statutory body mandated to oversee the architectural profession and also responsible for securing the highest practicable standards in the practice of architecture, has put together.

View from GREDA

President of GREDA, K. Dopoah Dei, noted that the theme for this year’s meeting ‘building quality homes: a clarion call on developers’, was carefully chosen because as developers quality is one of the measuring tools for customer satisfaction.

“Home buying is a lifetime investment and as such, quality cannot be taken for granted by those who provide them to prospective investors. Unfortunately, in recent times, there has been increasing concern by the public on the quality of the houses on supply by some estate developers.

This is unacceptable and must be checked to maintain public confidence in the developer. This is why the GREDA council is introducing internal quality control machinery to complement the work of Town and Country Planning, now called Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority,” he said.

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