General News of Friday, 29 August 2014
Government has approved a 4,120-unit affordable apartment scheme for public servants across all ten regions.
The project is expected to be rolled out before December, according to Managing Director of Italconstruct International Limited – the company contracted to build the houses.
“All the paperwork [with government] has been done. The only thing that we are waiting for is the signing of a loan agreement which will happen pretty soon”, Mr Kwesi Baidoo, MD for Italconstruct said.
The loan, according to him, will be provided by Barclays UK, backed by the UK government’s Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) at a rate of 2.25% per annum.
Land for the Greater Accra project has been allocated at Prampram, while paper work for locations of the project in the other regions –notably Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Northern regions – are ongoing.
“The good thing is that Italconstruct [is] already on the ground. We have constructed a number of houses, communities et cetera and we have our factory for producing panels in Tema so it’s not an issue of now trying to organise capacity. We already have capacity so as soon as the loan agreement is signed we will be hitting the road and delivering the houses”, Mr Baidoo assured.
The Italconstruct MD made these remarks at the launch of a 100 executive homes units of the company located in East Legon. The Italcourt, as it is called, has 503-bedroom detached executive homes in a gated community.
Ghana is faced with a twin problem of sprawling informal urban housing and a 1.7 million housing deficit.
Although government is intervening by rolling out affordable housing projects in parts of the country, real estate experts say the way to go is the establishment of a Real Estate Fund.
This fund, according to its proponents, will solve the problem of accessing capital by estate agents.
"Real Estate Fund is a laudable idea and I think government should look seriously at that. Because access to capital is quite difficult and interest rates are quite high", Mr Baidoo said.
He said in other countries that have surmounted their housing problems government made available "funds for real estate development with very conducive interest rates that when passed onto the customer he or she does not feel the pinch."
Mr Baidoo also revealed that the newly established Italcourts is aimed at addressing the housing deficit in the country.
“We used our advanced building technology which has several advantages compared to the conventional ones. Some of the advantages include its affordability, speed of construction and also high quality”, Mr Baidoo noted.
He added that the houses were built to be “energy efficient” since the materials for their construction enable energy conservation.
"The other features that makes this exclusive is that there is also a bio-digester installed which means that you wouldn’t have to evacuate you septic tank for over 20 years and after you’ve accumulated enough waste, you can even tap the gas for domestic use", he explained.