Minister for Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea clashed with members of the Minority in Parliament over the affordable housing project started by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
The Minister accused the erstwhile Atta Mills-Mahama administration of refusing and failing to continue the project after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took over government in 2009.
According to him, the neglect of the project that was intended to provide cheap accommodation to Ghanaians has left workers worse off.
“Indeed, both President John Atta Mills, may his soul rest in peace, and President John Dramani Mahama failed, refused and/or neglected to complete the Affordable Housing Programme of President Kufuor and the workers of Ghana are worse off for it,” Mr Atta Akyea reiterated.
The Minister’s statement last Friday drew sharp protest from the Minority and the member for Adaklu Constituency, Kwame Governs Agbodza, raised a point of order and insisted the Speaker should not allow any person to use un-parliamentary words on the floor.
“Mr. Speaker, you’ve always guided us to be very Parliamentary in our language. Last week our colleague came here and used words such as… “I’m not sure whether the Minister was bewitched… Mr. Speaker you wouldn’t allow any member of this House to use such words.
“Today he is here saying emphatically other governments refused and failed to do things… I could accept failed but Mr. Speaker, our colleague the Minister has developed an attitude to use un-parliamentary words in official documents. This must not be allowed to continue. He must be guided,” he stated.
The interjection did not sit well with Mr. Atta Akyea who insisted the colleague cannot teach him how to write his responses to Parliamentary questions.
“How can somebody tell me what to write, I find it very offensive. Is he going to teach me how to write; what kind of behaviour is this? This is my statement,” he retorted.
However, Speaker Mike Oquaye intervened and urged the Minister to adopt a neutral posture by being more factual and use words more acceptable to others.
The Government of Ghana Affordable Housing Project was initiated in 2006 with the objective of providing accommodation for the low to middle income workers of the country, create jobs and improve incomes.
The initial project objective was to provide 100,000 units over a five- year period, through direct government intervention and in partnership with the Private Sector.
The project commenced in six locations namely Borteyman – Accra, which SSNIT completed and is on sale; Kpone-Tema, Asokore – Mampong – Kumasi, Koforidua, Tamale and Wa.
According to the Minister, the programme through some funding initiatives has been able to deliver approximately 3,300 housing units which are woefully inadequate against the backdrop of the housing deficit of 2,000,000 dwelling homes.
He disclosed that the NPP government under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has engaged the private sector to explore means of securing funding to complete the project.
The Ministry, he said, in line with this has received an indicative financial term sheet from the Republic Bank in the sum of US$51 million for the completion of the projects.
He noted that projects in the Housing Sub-Sector are capital intensive and cover important physical and social infrastructure facilities for the development of the economy.
According to him, as a developing economy seeking to industrialize and expand its agenda for growth, increased access to safe, secure, adequate, and affordable housing has become critical to the development of the country.
Governments, he said, should, therefore, show commitment and ensure all Ghanaians irrespective of their location have access to safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing.