Bernard Arthur, a Planning and Urban Development Consultant has requested for the inclusion of a comprehensive housing programme from political leaders as they prepare their manifestoes, considering the importance of housing to Ghanaians.
Speaking at the launch of the Manifesto Project organized by the Center for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD Ghana), he indicated that the dearth of a comprehensive housing policy and a financial strategy for implementation of housing projects has blighted Ghana’s housing sector.
The Report launched by CDD-Ghana was titled ‘A compilation of issues and Evidence on Key sectors in Ghana’, Promoting responsive and responsible Manifestoes for national development.
According to Mr. Arthur, “This is serious and within that same population dynamics, you find out that we have outdoor sleepers and it has been compounded with the slum issues. Accra alone has over 217 slums and that is not even the slum pockets but slum settlements. When you get into East-Legon and other peri-urban areas you find a lot of slum pockets and this is not because the people chose to be there, but because there is an absence of a comprehensive program within national planning and by and large a lot are driven from the manifestos”.
The Planning and Urban Development Consultant was of the opinion that the absence of policy has created a yawning gap as households and individuals resort to the adoption of other strategies which includes self-financing to provide shelter for themselves.
He said, “Government’s responsibility essentially for housing has hovered basically around the civil service. But if you talk about the larger population, often housing is not considered as the government’s key responsibility. If you look at some of the projects that were implemented including sites and services, the government tried to just link up settlements with electricity, water and all that, but left the development to individuals to do.
“This opens a very big gap where you get land guards and all sorts of things emerging. The fact that the government does not concern itself with providing housing for the larger population opens up this kind of situation. Apart from the land guard issue, is the issue of multiple sales of lands by traditional landowners or families and that compounds the issue of housing”.
He also indicated that the housing sector is a lodestar in determining the performance of other sectors in the country.
“It is the foundation of a society that does not only help to provide homes for people but also solves issues of sanitation and crime,” he said.
Currently, Ghana’s housing deficit stands at 2 million units, however, stakeholders believe the deficit could be more as the country’s population increases.
By this, government would have to build 190,000 to 200,000 units of houses each year for the next 10 years to bridge the gap. This is expected to cost around US$3.4 billion for the 200,000 units.