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General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Housing deficit: SSNIT to come to the rescue

Minister-designate for housing, Atta Akyea noted the country is facing serious housing problems Minister-designate for housing, Atta Akyea noted the country is facing serious housing problems

The Akufo-Addo-led government will fall on the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in its quest to deal with the country’s housing deficit of more than 1.5 million, Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister-designate for Works and Housing, has said.

According to him, the housing problem in the country is a serious one that should receive all the needed attention from the government, hence the decision to draw SSNIT into the plan to deal with the challenge.

Speaking during his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Tuesday January 31, Mr Atta Akyea said: “The housing deficit is a problem we have to address. If it matters to Ghana, we shouldn’t pay scant attention in terms of time and resources to it, if not we will be defeated by this problem.

“What I see as the problem is not lack of investors [but] having banks available to give them security so that they will not be inundated with litigations. The major problem is that when you have a very powerful investor who does need any money from Ghana and is ready to give you very large numbers of housing units, what will be his return on the investment? That is the problem we are facing in this country.

“The problem is that they will not be able to have any return on investment because the end user, the average Ghanaian, cannot afford to own a decent house, the reason being that their income levels are very low.”

To that end, he said: “One of the things I believe is to have multiple mainstreams mortgage financing in the country. I will propose that SSNIT will do a good job by setting aside a good chunk of the pool of monies collected on behalf of Ghanaians to address that problem.

“In fact, we can use pension funds to leverage financing, which will cushion the ordinary Ghanaian from the hardship of high interest rates in terms of mortgaging. We could use that. Bear in mind we could also find special purpose banks – I have just investigated the collapse of the Bank for Housing and Construction. The Bank for Housing and Construction was a special purpose bank to help with mortgage arrangement.

“The ordinary commercial banks we have in the country want quick returns on their money. You hardly find a commercial bank that will say that ‘would you want to take this loan and pay me in twenty five years?’ No. There is not one that you can find.

“But if you have a special purpose bank like Bank for Housing and Construction, they understand the essence of mortgage and then they can come help give a good mortgage arrangement.”