… Over Huge Housing Deficit
Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu Constituency in the Volta Region, Hon. Kwame Agboza, has expressed disappointment over the inability of Ghanaians to have access to decent housing.
According to him, the huge 1.5 million deficit housing gap in the country is a threat to development and that it was time government took a bold step and involved stakeholders.
Mr. Agboza, in response to a statement by the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, on the floor of Parliament Wednesday, this week, blamed past governments for the current situation, saying they failed to prioritise and address the housing deficit in the country.
He expressed the belief that access to utility services and lack of decent but low-cost housing are major challenges facing the Ghanaian today.
“The greatest challenge we have in this country is about housing. And it is estimated to be at about 1.5 million deficit and that is what we are facing in this country. It is even estimated that by 2018 this number will rise up and this is very serious,”Hon. Agboza stated.
He also condemned the high rentals landlords demand from tenants, saying it drains the coffers of the average Ghanaian, particularly the youth.
“The reason is that it is only in Ghana that people pay this high rent and rent in advance at all times when people want houses. And so young people who want to start life and who have very little money to pay for decent homes are forced to borrow money and it stifles their ability to progress,” he emphasised.
He urged government to get stakeholders involved in the sector for a full implementation of the housing policy and also partner the private sector to address the challenges.
He added that the government should also take steps to complete housing projects started by the previous John Mahama administration so as to improve the living standard of citizens.
Mr. Atta Akyea, on Wednesday, this week, pleaded with Members of Parliament (MPs) to give their maximum attention to a new Rent Bill and ensure its passage when it is introduced to the legislature for consideration.
The new Rent Bill, when passed into an Act, he noted, would ensure that sanity prevails in the housing industry, where landlords have resorted to charging exorbitant fees, much to the detriment of low-income earners.
“It is our determination to ensure that a new Rent Bill will be validated and all the anomalies of the existing Rent Act removed to promote a balance between the needs of tenants and landlords.
“When passed into law, the new Rent Act will ensure that the rights of vulnerable tenants are safeguarded, and, also, real estate developers are not discouraged from investing in rental housing,” he noted.
He opined that, “addressing the housing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, especially, women, youth and those who live in slums, must be a priority in the developmental agenda of our dear nation.”
The statement was made on the occasion of the World Habitat Day, which falls on October 2, every year, under the United Nations’ calendar.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba