Local real estate companies will play a lead role in delivering housing units under the 1.5 billion dollar STX project Alban Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing has said.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 22 million- dollar Manet Twin Towers at the the Airport City in Accra at the weekend, Mr Bagbin said the contracts for the construction of the housing units would be awarded to Ghanaian companies for the actual execution of the work on the ground. “Much of the criticism against the STX Housing agreement flows from the perception that Ghanaian companies will not benefit from the venture. “Indeed, it is a Ghanaian company that is to partner STX Korea in the venture,” he said in a statement read on behalf of President John Evans Atta Mills.
The Minister said under the agreement, the government would set up a local joint venture company with STX to lead the construction of the housing units. Besides, a local mortgage financing company, HFC would become the manager of the interest of the people of Ghana in the multi-billion 110,000 component of the housing project, adding that the issue of Ghanaian involvement in the STX project was not in doubt.”This means therefore, that the Mills-led NDC (National Democratic Congress) government is taking the issue of local content, which basically means putting money into Ghanaian pockets very seriously,” he said.
Mr Bagbin said rapid population growth and increasing urbanisation had made shelter one of the most critical problems, necessitating government to review the National Housing policy to focus more on the housing needs of low income people.
Government, he said, is also committed to promoting the use of Pozolana from the current usage levels of 20 per cent to at least 60 per cent by 2015 in an effort to promote and inject local content for job creation and to reduce the high cost of building and construction. He said the current data indicates that the country’s housing deficit stands at more than a million housing units.
Out of the four million housing units in the country less than one-half were classified as houses, adding that as much as 58 percent of the houses were of poor quality and made of mud, laterite brick, wattle and daub, and earth.
More than 74,000 kiosks and containers were also being used as houses. The Minister said only 17 per cent of Ghanaian households sleep in four or more roomed facilities. “These are the statistics for about 10 years ago. They are not any better in 2010. As a country now enjoying middle income status, our built environment and our cityscapes from residential to commercial and leisure leaves much to be desired,” he said.
He called on stakeholders in the real estate sector to partner with the government to ensure that the country’s housing situation is improved. Mr Martin Beeko, Director of MANET, a real estate development company said the company had over the past 16 years built more than 1,200 residential units for the upper end of housing market, making the group the second largest real estate developer in the country.
Dr Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, said the inauguration of the Twin Towers project was a testimony of years of dedication and faithfulness of MANET to contribute to the development of the country.