NEW. Watch live television from Ghana plus the latest Ghanaian movies plus OBE TV.Accra, Sept. 16, GNA - Government is to formulate a strategy on the real estate sector to tackle a national housing deficit estimated at about one million units, Vice President John Dramani Mahama announced on Wednesday.
Interacting with the leadership of Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA) at the Castle, Osu, he said the proposed strategy would be multi-pronged, address issues of financing, land acquisition, the use of alternative building materials and deployment of environmental technology.
Mr Mahama explained that the strategy was geared towards reducing the deficit by deploying technologies that would help to reduce the cost of construction and ensure durability of the houses. The meeting was to explore a durable and holistic approach in dealing with the housing problem.
GREDA estimates that about 130,000 housing units should be built annually in addition to the 25,000 to 40,000 units the members were providing currently.
Vice President Mahama gave the assurance that government would develop a symbiotic relationship with GREDA for the provision of affordable houses to the people.
He said government was considering a proposal on how to apply the new Pension Scheme to include private contributions and mobilise resources for the real estate sector and also grow the economy. Mr Mahama noted that because most Ghanaians worked in the informal sector, their contributions under the new pension scheme would enable many people to acquire their own houses through mortgage. He pledged constant dialogue with GREDA, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) and other stakeholders to devise a scheme for the use of affordable materials, more efficient use of land and more responsiveness to environmental practices.
Mr Torgbor Mensah, former President of GREDA, called for a "new revolution" in the housing sector with the real estate developer serving as the benchmark for economic performance. He said government could use investments in the sector to reduce unemployment in addition to meeting the country's housing needs. Mr Mensah noted that Habitat for Humanity, an international affordable housing organization was implementing GREDA's ideas in other countries.
He appealed to government to encourage every financial institution to allocate one million dollars for real estate developers in their operations.
Dr. Alex Tweneboa, President of GREDA, said the private sector had not been provided with the needed encouragement in overcoming the deficit in housing but was satisfied with government's response to address the issue.
Mr. Gaby Mattouk, Executive Chairman of Parakuo Limited, urged government to create a body that would serve as a "buffer" between land developers and land owners to remove bottlenecks in land acquisition in the country.
He called on government to constitute a 'Brainstorming Committee' to work towards resolving problems hindering real estate development. Odeneho Kyeremateng, Chief Executive Officer of Comment Properties, called for improvement in revenue mobilisation in the real estate sector.