Government will soon establish a National Housing Authority as part of a comprehensive plan to address the longstanding housing deficit in the country.
Minister for Works and Housing Francis Asenso-Boakye who announced this during an inspection of some state housing projects and government bungalows in Accra said the authority will regulate the acquisition of housing units in the country.
Speaking to the media after the tour, Mr Asenso-Boakye also hinted that a housing fund will be established to support the authority.
These policies, among others, are part of the governing NPP’s 2020 election manifesto.
“This housing authority will make sure that we get the right designs for housing, and we make sure that there is a good maintenance policy for housing. This housing development will make sure that through the housing development we will have a national housing fund which will give us the money to be able to absorb land and infrastructure costs. We are going to start from scratch.
“We have now started engagement, so this involves legislation to the cabinet, Parliament and stakeholder consultations. I have been in the office for the last two weeks and we are now about to start, we are praying that, God willing, towards the ending of the year, we would have gotten to a stage that we would say we have made substantial progress”, Mr Asenso-Boakye who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bantama disclosed.
The Ghana Real Estate Developers Association had earlier called on the government to speed up the establishment of the Authority adding that it must be run by technocrats and industry players who are familiar with the sector.
The governing NPP under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo as part of efforts towards addressing the country’s housing deficit proposed some measures in their manifesto for the 2020 general election.
It proposed the establishment of two new bodies, the Ghana Housing Authority and the National Housing and Mortgage Finance Company.
The authority will be responsible for improving the legal and regulatory framework, creating land banks, providing infrastructure, and standardizing houses.
The finance company, on the other hand, will manage the Mortgage and Housing Fund set up in the 2020 budget, provide incentives to enable the private sector to build community housing units, and create jobs in the process across the country.
Loan scheme for decent homes
The governing NPP has also promised to set up a loan scheme that will help young Ghanaians to rent decent homes.
The scheme is captured in NPP’s 2020 manifesto and announced by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia ahead of last year’s general election.
He indicated that the government will implement the policy through a National Rental Assistance scheme with an initial sum of GH¢100 million.
“We are going to be putting in place GH¢100 million for the National Rental Assistance scheme and work with the private sector to crowd in more funds so that we can get this done and relieve a lot of people who are renting of the burden.
“There are lots of youth who finish school and have to get accommodation. But the problem here is that some landlords demand rent allowance for as long as two years. For someone who just finished school and is starting a job, the sum will be huge and out of their reach. They may not have that amount saved to pay all these huge demands for rent allowance. There shows a market failure and that is why the government has decided to come in and bridge this market failure with the National Rental Assistance Scheme,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia added that the scheme will primarily serve people in formal employment and will be required to provide guarantors to access the support from the scheme.
Outlining the repayment structure of the loan, he said, “Under this scheme, if you have a job and we can deduct regularly from your income under this scheme, the National Rent Assurance scheme will give you a loan to pay your rent allowance but it is to the landlord. You need to have formal employment.