Editorial: Reducing housing deficit by 40% ambitious but necessary

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Following working visits by the Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning and Works and Housing to two affordable housing projects near Tema this week, plans are in the pipeline to address the over-two million units housing deficit afflicting the nation.

To this end, ’s outfit has established the National Housing and Mortage Fund (NHMF) to provide capital at two percent for banks participating in the housing sector to fund housing projects.

This will enable individuals, particularly public sector workers, to own affordable homes at a mortgage that must not go beyond 12 percent. Also, the government is partnering the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) to provide a significant amount of housing units annually.

For his part, Samuel Atta Akyea – Works and Housing Minister – indicated that owing to government’s commitment to bridging the deficit, a master-plan is being put together that aims at reducing the current housing deficit by 40% if it is retained in power for the next four years.

Mr. Akyea indicated that government wants to start with public sector workers first, due to the reliability and predictability of their salary since payment will be deducted directly from the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department to service the mortgage.

He is however hopeful that the private sector will not be excluded, provided they have a consistent income stream. Affordable housing schemes have been in the pipeline spanning several political administrations ever since the inception of the Fourth Republic.

But the sad aspect is that once the administration is voted out of power, the schemes stall and largely remain white-elephants – to the chagrin of workers in dire need of accommodation. It is all well and good that a master-plan is in place to drastically reduce the housing deficit, but what guarantees such a scheme will see the light of day; particularly when there is no guarantee the electorate will retain the current administration.

Owing to the over-politicisation of such schemes, the whole issue of putting up affordable housing schemes seem like a wild-goose chase. We need to focus on completing such schemes so as to reduce the growing deficit in housing across the country.

That said, we believe any scheme that is in place to reduce the country’s huge housing deficit needs to be pursued to its logical end. We must end the merry-go-round.

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