Ghana: Veep Cuts Sod for Construction of 100,000 Affordable Housing Units

The Vice President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, has broken the ground for the construction of 100,000 affordable housing units across the country.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) solely funded project, to cost US$5.3 billion dollars, is scheduled to be completed between five and eight years.

Estimated to generate 100,000 direct and indirect jobs over the period, the starting price of a unit is US$27,500 to be paid by mortgage over a 30-year duration.

Breaking the ground for the commencement of work at Afiama, a suburb of Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region yesterday where 6,500 units of the 100,000 would be erected, Dr Bawumia described the project as "the game changer" in reducing Ghana's housing deficit which he said stood at 1.7 million.

Shelter, Dr Bawumia said, was the next most important human need after food and clothing but "our inability to meet the housing needs of our citizenry in the past has created a huge backlog, estimated to be in excess of 1,700,000 units.

Whilst the housing supply requirement is about 150,000 units per annum, the Vice President said, less than 40 per cent of that figure is achieved annually.

Ghana's local housing sector, Dr Bawumia noted, was faced with challenges on multiple fronts - from the lack of affordable finance options for both developers and citizens, lack of affordable properties, and lack of affordable mortgage options amongst others.

"This has led to a large disparity between the need for housing and the availability of viable and sustainable housing options for hard working Ghanaians," he observed.

He said though the UNOPS housing scheme, which is being replicated in Kenya, India and across the Caribbean, would help augment the housing projects the Government of Ghana was undertaking, "we are miles away to overcome the challenges facing the housing sector in Ghana."

According to the Vice President, the project's objective -decent and affordable houses for Ghanaians - is in tandem with the government's policy adding that government had fully embraced the project and hopes the same level of enthusiasm is demonstrated by the private sector in supporting other developmental programmes.

With Ghana playing a facilitating role and the UN agency solely funding the project, Dr Bawumia said "the programme arrangement does not impose any financial liability on government and requires no government guarantees."

Madam Grete Feremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UNOPS, said the scheme which is being executed in Ghana by Sustainable Housing Solutions Ghana Limited, is in line with the attainment of goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals which focuses on the provision of sustainable cities and communities.

The environmentally friendly and energy sufficient houses, Ms Feremo said, would improve the lives of inhabitants and the catchment area of the project as a whole.

"We cannot attain the SDGs without bold initiatives," she declared with the hope that the project would go according to plan.

Amenities to accompany the project include common arrears, parks, bicycles and walk ways, schools, hospitals, community centres, local markets, retail centres, centralised sewage treatment, meter power, water and gas amongst others.

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