Government is to consider raising bonds in the nearest future to address the country’s acute housing deficit.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, who gave the hint, indicated that the move had become necessary as government interventions in the sector had been inadequate to solve the country’s housing problems.
“Sometimes, we believe cocoa is critical to the economy of this country and therefore we are able to raise good money on the bonds market to solve cocoa challenges but to have a housing deficit which is running over 2 million, there should be bold government intervention to raise money on the stock exchange, if not, our efforts will not go far and we cannot totally trust the private sector to wipe out the deficit,” he stated.
The Minister was speaking at an event in Accra to mark this year’s World Habitat Day, which is celebrated every first Monday in October.
This year’s edition was on the theme “Housing for All: A Better Urban Future”.
The annual event reflects on the state of cities and towns and the basic rights of all to adequate housing.
Mr Atta-Akyea pointed out that the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had reinforced the need to roll out more affordable housing for sustainable and healthy living.
According to him, the country’s housing deficit was more pronounced among people of low income than high income groups “and in these times, the living conditions of people in slum areas and informal settlements, where there are overcrowding and inadequate social and hygiene facilities, potentially increase risk of infection of the virus.”
The Minister said the “National Housing Implementation” policy to address housing affordability was at its conclusive stage as the government was mobilising funds both domestically and internationally to support the housing sector.
He, however, appealed to Ghanaians and other key stakeholders to support the government in its quest to address the housing deficit.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Charles Abani, expressed UN support for Ghana in addressing the housing challenge.
He said the UN Habitat, through its interventions, had supported housing and slum upgrading programmes in regions of the country, including Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Northern.
Mr Abani made reference to the COVID-19 pandemic and urged civil society to partner the government at various levels to implement an inclusive agenda of realising “Housing For All”.
In plenary presentations, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah and Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kwasi Adjei-Boateng, reiterated the need to address Ghana’s urban housing deficit for social-economic development.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng urged that the state take “environmental management seriously” in the quest to address housing inadequacies.
“As we build our towns and cities, we must create room for cemeteries, consider persons with disabilities and do away with the culture of using every available space for human settlement,” he urged.
Ms Dapaah called for behavioural change among citizenry to reduce littering as “we collaborate more and build synergies to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
Mr Adjei-Boateng stressed that as a matter of urgency, “we should get realistic solutions to our housing problem and provide decent shelter for vulnerable groups.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH