The Minister for Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye has disclosed that the government was considering the possibility of selling the Saglemi Housing comprising of 1,506 housing units to a private sector.
He explained that this came after a lengthy assessment, verification and consultations because the government could no longer invest in the project as it was handicapped.
Mr Asenso-Boakye, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Accra on Sunday, indicated that the proceeds from the sale would come to the government and would be reinvested into affordable housing.
“The Saglemi Affordable Housing Project was initiated in 2012 for the delivery of 5,000 housing units at a total cost of US$200,000,000.00 under an Engineering-Procurement-Contracting (EPC) Agreement with Messrs Construtora OAS Ghana Limited.
By the end of the stipulated completion date, the original contract of the project had been amended three times, with the project scope reducing from the initial 5,000 housing units to 1,506 housing units, although US$195,854,969.52 representing 98% of the project funds had been expended,” he stated.
He noted that the 1506 housing units were at various stages of completion yet none of these 1506 housing units were habitable, because the project currently lacks basic amenities, such as, water and electricity, and other related amenities.
“At the same time, a technical assessment report by the Ghana Institution of Surveyors in September, 2020, valued the total cost of works on site at US$64,982,900.74. Consequently, there is an on-going criminal prosecution at the High Court to determine the discrepancies with the funds expended on the project, vis-à-vis the valued cost of works and original project scope,” he added.
The Minister added that the sale had become necessary after actively engaging Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Office of the Attorney-General and the Ministry of Justice on the completion of the project.
“It is worth mentioning that throughout these engagements, it was evidenced that regardless of the option government takes, the government will have to provide additional financing to the tune of approximately US$46 million to provide off-site infrastructure, that is, water, electricity, and storm drain, to make the housing units habitable.
Additionally, there is the need to invest approximately US$68 million to complete the buildings, and other essential on-site infrastructure works,” he stressed.
According to the minister, what complicated the Saglemi Housing Project, even more, was that the government had already spent approximately US$196 million on the project, and upon further consideration, the government did not intend to spend additional tax-payers money towards the completion of the project.
“Thankfully, the State has some equity in the form of the land and assets on site that can be leveraged for the completion of the units by the Private Sector.
In furtherance of the above, and to facilitate the processes, a Technical Working Team has been set up, comprising professionals and experts to oversee and spearhead all engagements required for the completion of the project. This is being done with the goal of ensuring transparency and accountability while guaranteeing value for money in the completion of the project,” he added.
Patience Anaadem, ISD