General News of Thursday, 27 September 2018
Ghana and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of more than 100,000 social housing units across the country.
While the UNOPS will pre-finance the project with $5 billion, the government of Ghana (GoG), through the Ministry of Works and Housing, will acquire and secure land for the construction of the housing units.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo witnessed the signing ceremony last Tuesday on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly session currently underway in the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
It was initialled on behalf of Ghana by the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Ms Freda Prempeh, and the UN Under Secretary General who is also the Executive Director of UNOPS, Ms Grete Feremo, for her outfit. Other UN officials present were the General Counsel and Director of New York Office, Mr James Provenzano, and Vitaly Vanshelboim.
Ms Prempeh described the GOG-UNOPS project as a dream come true.
She indicated that once the MoU had been signed, the two bodies would immediately follow it up with the signing of a commercial agreement and iron out modalities and technicalities involved as soon as possible for the commencement of the project.
“Within a spate of two to three years, I am hoping that we will be able to put up 100,000 social housing units to accommodate our citizens,” she assured.
Ms Prempeh said the UN which had been very supportive to the course of Ghana over the years’ had this time around decided to invest in the social housing needs of the people.
“This collaborative project will seek to create a sustainable, affordable and environmentally conscious social housing market without the perennial challenges the industry often experiences,” she said.
According to the minister, the project would centre around the use of innovative building technology and construction materials, as well as environmentally friendly construction techniques that would also make the building of homes attainable.
Ms Prempeh said the implementation of the project would also create jobs across the construction industry chain, adding that “the impact on the Ghanaian economy will be very positive indeed”.
She indicated that similar social housing units had already been put up in Kenya, South Africa, India, Turkey, Israel and Singapore.
According to Ms Prempeh, “Our housing deficit, according to the last census in 2010, stands at about 1.7 million housing units while annual housing demand is about 100,000 units with only 40 per cent being met.”
She, therefore, said upon completion of the project, Ghanaians would be able to acquire the affordable units through mortgage financing.
The minister said her ministry had been negotiating with some banks and financial institutions for the provision of mortgage facilities to prospective beneficiaries.
On why the government had not completed Saglema and other affordable housing projects in the country, Ms Prempeh mentioned challenges such as scope of work, value for money and cost of project that needed to be dealt with, adding that “all these call for thorough investigations.”