By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, April 16, GNA – The Ministry of Works and Housing on Tuesday inaugurated a 16-member National Housing Committee in Accra to develop guidelines for the implementation of the national mortgage and housing finance scheme.
The Committee chaired by Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the sector Minister and supported by the Deputy Minister, Mrs Barbara Asher Ayisi, is tasked among other duties to identify and create land banks and help with land acquisition.
It is also expected to develop a policy to promote the building of communities and ensure equitable distribution of affordable houses, oversee infrastructure development such as roads, water and electricity connections to new sites and implement the social housing component.
The Committee is made up of representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Roads and Highways as well as the Architects Registration Council, Public Servants Housing Loan Scheme Board, Rural Housing Department, and Architectural and Engineering Services Limited.
Other representatives were from the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, Ghana Water Company Limited, Power Distribution Services Ghana, and the Lands Commission.
Mr Atta Akyea said home ownership had become one of the biggest obstacles faced by the average Ghanaian and it could be attributed to lack of access to affordable mortgages and high cost of limited financing for the construction of residential homes.
Statistics, he said, had revealed that 60 per cent of Ghana’s urban population would need some form of government intervention to support them to get access to housing with 35 per cent not able to access housing even with government support in terms of subsidy.
“Unfortunately, this is a sorry situation in which we find ourselves in as a country. No wonder we are struggling with a housing deficit which is now in excess of two million housing units,” he said.
He said to address the precarious situation, government through the 2018 budget and economic policy approved the establishment of a national mortgage and housing financing scheme to provide financing towards mortgage and construction of residential housing across the country.
This, he said, was to increase access to adequate, safe, secure and affordable housing for the citizenry.
Mr Atta Akyea said the overall plan was to make government the principal mortgage and housing delivery institution as practised in the developed economies.
“The government in the short to medium term intends to work with both managers of Tier-2 SSNIT contribution and selected banks to provide sustainable mortgage financing for both public and private sector workers,” he said.
The Minister explained that through the scheme, SSNIT contributors would be able to access their Tier-2 pension while participating banks would use pension and institutional funds to provide long terms funds for the scheme.
The Ministry, he said, was targeting to build about thousand houses during the 18-month pilot phase.
Mr Solomon A. Asoalla, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Works and Housing, said the Committee was expected to commence work in April, 2019 and work towards implementation of the affordable housing project until October 2020.
He said government intended to develop a primary mortgage and housing finance market by implementing initiatives to deepen the local currency mortgage and residential housing finance market using banking and capital markets.
Among the objectives for the policy initiatives, he said, were to stimulate local currency mortgage loans and housing finance in the financial system to promote large scale affordable community housing initiatives by the private sector.
Others were to create the environment to mobilise long term funds (pension and insurance) to develop a vibrant Real Estate Investment Trust market for the middle to low income segment of the economy.
Mr Asoalla explained that the Committee was expected to present written reports and minutes to the Chief Director of the Ministries of Works and Housing and Finance at least every month for review and submission to the Ministers.