You are here: HomeNews2012 05 24Article 239948

Business News of Thursday, 24 May 2012

Source: National Tenants Association of Ghana

Ghana Needs Well Crafted Housing Policy

23ND MAY, 2012

CELL: +233 261 255 255

Ghana Needs Well Crafted Housing Policy To Unravel The Housing Deficit

NATAG is an umbrella organization established to assist tenants through education, legal information and lobbying for tenants legislation, especially affordable housing and tenants rights.
We feel disappointed and betrayed by politicians for politicising matters concerning housing. As Ghana’s housing deficit hit 1.6 million and expected to double by the next 10 years.
Currently, we need 360,000 housing unit a year for ten years as a country in order to flatten our rocketing housing deficit which is expected to reach 3.6 million by the year 2022 if the current trend of providing housing in the country continue.
The Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) implememted by governmemt at the begining of 1986 marked the genesis of the country choosing to default in providing social and affordable housing to Ghanaians. As it were, the introduction of the SAP, subjected the counrty to trade liberalization which opened Ghana market to importing building materials at a higher cost which served as disincentive for many Ghanaians to own houses.
This killer policy led to the abandonment of the State Housing Corporation (SHC) and the Tema Developmemt Coporation, which used to provide affordable housing to the Ghanaian poor and Public workers.
In compliance with the Structural Adjustment Programme, a National Housing policy was then implememted leading to the liberalization of the housing sector which led to the creation of the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA) which had it interest of providing housing for only those who can afford to buy their estates at an exorbitants cost without giving any preference to the poor.
This move by Government and GREDA, came to prematurely end the policy of Rent to own, a typical social intervention policy spearheaded by the Kwame Nkrumah- CPP led Administration in the 60’s which saw to it that many poor and underprevildged in society earning less than fifity shillings at that time are able to own houses on their own.
We are also fascinated by the level of hypocracy been displayed on the part of GREDA, as to whether they did not know that for the over 26 years of their existence in the country that, building for the poor was investing worthy.
The failure on the part of government to directly invest in the housing sector by providing subsidies to encourage building and home ownership but rather relying sorely on private entities to put more houses sought to worsen the housing deficit and make the Ghanian renter more poorer.
We also find it very difficult to understand why Government is unwillinging to subsidize building materials to reduce the cost of building in order to check the alarming and the rocketing cost of building materials on the market.
Today, the price of cement has shot up to GHC 25 a bag from GHC 16.50, the highest price increase ever recorded in the history of Ghana. The effect of this is that, greedy Landlords will take advantage of that to exploit the poor renter for their selfish gains.
We would like to take the opportunity through this platform to call on all political parties in the country to as well direct their attention and also focus on proving affordable Housing to the poor with a housing policy in place when elected to power come 2013, rather than only raising voices and making strong promises to promoting free education to deceive and cheat the intelligence of the poor, and potraying that housing is no issue to them.
On this note, we would like to remind Government and all politicians that Shelter is among one of the three basic neccessities of life after considering food and Health. Therefore the onus is on Government to provide adequate and affordable housing for the citizenry.
We therefore urge government to end the political gimmick and the flimsy excuses to the public as to their inability to produce for the country a National Housing Policy (NHP) to transform and improve the current state of providing housing and decent Accommodation to the people.
As a group, we will continue to educate our members to better understand the housing policies of political parties and to see which one of them would serve our interest as Ghanaians.

Frederick Opoku
AG. Secretary General
National Tenants Association of Ghana