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General News of Friday, 7 May 2021

Source: mynewsgh.com

Investing in Saglemi Housing Project a wasteful venture – Asenso-Boakye

Francis Asenso-Boakye, Minister of Works and Housing Francis Asenso-Boakye, Minister of Works and Housing

The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye has described the controversial Saglemi Housing Project as a needless and wasteful venture indicating the site of the project as one of the major reasons, MyNewsGh.com reports.

The Minister who doubles as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bantama constituency made this emphatic statement when he interacted with Kwame Adinkra on Kumasi-based Pure FM’s ‘Pure Morning Drive’ which was telecasted live on OneHD Tv and monitored by MyNewsGh.com.

Hon. Asenso Boakye explained that even though the policymakers then thought it wise to decongest Accra, it was wrong on their part to site the Saglemi Housing Project far from the main towns.

He continued that; monies invested into the project could have completed the Kufuor affordable housing schemes which he described as equitably distributed across the country.

“The culture of abandoning projects started by previous governments is bad and even the constitution bars it. Investing in Saglemi could have finished Kufuor’s affordable housing programme. It is needless, unnecessary and wasteful to start a new project when previous ones haven’t been completed.”

“If you also check the location of the Saglemi Housing Project, you can see that it’s miles away from town whilst that of President Kufuor is close to main towns and cities. The siting if Saglemi is very wrong.

"To decongest Accra doesn’t mean that you have to take the project miles away.” He stated on Pure (95.7) FM in Kumasi.

Meanwhile, the Minister in a previous press statement indicated that the Ministry of Works and Housing will require an additional US$32 million to complete the abandoned 5,000-unit Saglemi housing project started by the previous government after exhausting its initial money earmarked for the project.

It said a technical audit by the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GIS) of the project, which initially had an output target of 5,000 units at a total cost of US$200 million, had estimated that additional funds would be required for its completion indicating the unavailability of water and electricity being a reason limiting the utilisation of the housing units.

“Although the financing of the project had largely been exhausted, an initial technical audit by the ministry revealed the key primary infrastructure still outstanding includes water supply and electricity.” He said.

However, the Leader of the All-Progressive Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga has described as ‘senseless’ any decision by government to delay or failure to complete the Saglemi Housing Project.



“This cannot happen in a country where millions of workers are struggling for accommodation, irrespective of the party they belong to. This is not a political party project. This is a government of Ghana project, and we cannot allow it to rot, no matter the circumstances surrounding it. It does not make sense for anybody to leave such a project abandoned for years,” he said in an interview monitored by MyNewsGh.com

In 2018, the then Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea invited the Attorney-General to scrutinize the agreements.

There were reports that key contract documents were missing or had inconsistencies.

The government believed there was a misappropriation of funds in the project, resulting in shoddy work.

Mr. Atta Akyea had accused a former Works and Housing Minister, Collins Dauda, of altering the original agreement for the Saglemi housing project without recourse to Parliament.

He claimed that after Parliament passed the agreement in October 2012 for the construction of 5,000 housing units, the then minister reviewed the contract scaling down the number of units to some 1,500 units and later to 1,024 units after another review in 2016.

The first phase of the project, with 1,500 housing units, which was commissioned by John Mahama in 2016 have been left unused.

The project, which was intended to reduce the country’s massive housing deficit is seated on a 300-acre land with one to three-bedroom apartments for low-income earners.

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