President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has challenged members of the Ghana Chamber Construction Industry (GhCCI), to find innovative ways to build affordable houses for Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo said the prices of houses built by GhCCI in the country were beyond what the average Ghanaian could afford, and described the system as being the “monopoly of the rich”.
Ghana’s current housing deficit hovers around 1.8 million housing units. This is due to the huge cost of building, rising cost of construction materials, in Ghana compared to countries, such as the United States of America.
Addressing a delegation of the GhCCI, who called on him at the Jubilee House on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo said policymakers in the housing sector could not continue to ignore the expensive methods of construction in the country.
“If we are going to be able to deal with the infrastructure deficit in our country, apart from roads… we need a critical aspect which is our ability to build houses cheaply.
“We cannot continue to ignore the expensive methods of construction that have made housing here virtually a monopoly of the rich, it shouldn’t be the case,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President, who lamented on the expensive housing in Ghana, expressed surprise at the price of a small three-bedroom house which costs between $350,000 and $500,000 in some parts of Accra. He said the United States had some of the cheapest housing that you would come across anywhere in the world and urged GhCCI members to consider and review construction materials that would go into building affordable houses in the country.
President Akufo-Addo said there were local and indigenous ways of building cheap and affordable houses in the country. “We need to find a solution to how we can build strong houses here but cheaply.”
He said it is important that the government and stakeholders in the housing sector forge strong partnerships and find solutions to address housing matters in the country.
Mr K.H. Osei Asante, a member of the governing council of the GhCCI, proposed the passage of specific bills, and a review of some existing laws in the building industry.
Amongst others, Mr Osei called on the government to initiate and pass a Housing Authority Bill to coordinate social housing projects, support the passage of the Surveying Council Bill, and prioritise the introduction of the Construction Industry Development Authority Bill.
He recommended the review of some aspects of the Architects Registration Council Law, as well as the Rent Bill which is currently before Parliament.
The GhCCI was established on the back of existing institutions such as the Telecommunications Chamber, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Mines, among others.
The main objective of the GhCCI is to serve as a medium for continuous dialogue among the various stakeholders (Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, State Bodies that regulate various aspects of the Construction Industry/Built Environment, and others) and to advocate policies, policy reforms, and amendments as well as their implementation, to ensure it leads to the creation of a conducive business enabling environment.
The GhCCI also exist to facilitate the establishment of the Construction Industry Development Authority as a state regulatory body in Ghana and also provide an avenue for networking among the various members and stakeholders.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD