Accra, Sept 14, GNA - Mrs Freda Prempeh, Deputy Minister in charge of Works and Housing has reiterated government desire to revive the Public Works Department (PWD) and make it a more efficient and vibrant entity.
Mrs Prempeh said the PWD premises has about 36 plots of land lying idle, and that government in collaboration with stakeholders in tends to develop the place and put up more than 10,000 units of high rise building to ease accommodation deficits in the country.
Mrs Prempeh, who is the Member of Parliament for Tano North said this when she paid a working visit to the Rent Control Department and the PWD which falls under the Ministry to abreast herself with their operations.
The Deputy Minister expressed worry about the deplorable state of the department, saying the area was housed by squatters, drug addicts, broken vehicles which had created undue congestion in the vicinity.
“The PWD had in the past, used to be vibrant but now has dwindled due to decentralisation where some of the staff had been transferred to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the Regional Coordinating Councils,” she added.
The department had a staff strength of 80 to 85, which the Deputy Minister said in her opinion were under-utilised since some were there doing nothing but received salary.
“All the buildings are not in good shape, if care is not taken, all the buildings can fall on people and cause more harm. It was for this that government needs to restructure the place and make it more productive”.
She said the Ministry would engage stakeholders in the sector to develop the place into a commercial enterprise because the area was a prime land area, which could be utilised through expansion and create job opportunities.
Mrs Prempeh noted that the Ministry was reviewing the Rent Act, Act 220 to meet current challenges in the country, since it was promulgated in 1963 and that the Ministry would soon present a bill to cabinet for stakeholder engagement for it to be passed into law.
She said government would work towards the establishment of a National Housing Fund and subsequently a National Housing Authority to make a strong case for the use of local materials for building.
The country’s housing deficit currently stands at 1.7 million, a situation that leaves tenants at the mercy of landlords and creates lot of pressure on the Rent Control Unit which mediates between landlords and tenants.
The Ghana News Agency observed that the Department which housed the State Protocol Works and Presidential Daze is in a deplorable state with leaked ceiling coupled with poor sanitation.
The PWD was established in 1850 charged with the responsibility of supervising the construction and maintenance of all government bungalows, office blocks and other landed properties.