By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, May 14, GNA - A total of 1,039 acres of prime lands occupied by residents of Nima and Maamobi in the Greater Accra Region would be upgraded into world-class residential enclave, which would be distributed free of charge to the residents.
The project is expected to commence this year and would give meaning and beauty to the President’s vision of Inner City and Zongo Development to transform slum communities into modern residential enclave.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister of Works and Housing, who announced this at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra on Tuesday, said the residents would owe the executive flats without paying a dime.
Nima and Maamobi are highly populated slum communities lying in the heart of the capital, Accra, made up of people with diverse ethnic backgrounds, with poor drainage systems and sanitation challenge.
“The Nima people have their own homes, we’re aware we’re not going to dislodge them, but we’re going to build executive flats and housing arrangement for them and then they would move in free of charge to create a better environment for them,” Mr Atta Akyea said.
“Then the land space would be released to the real estate developer and the developer will decide to build glamorous structures than the Villagio Estate, which would compensate for the land released.”
The Sector Minister said government and the real estate developer would also take part of the structures after it had completed distribution to the residents, explaining that the state would not incur any extra cost in the provision of the new structures.
Mr Atta Akyea, Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, said the project engineering would be presented to Cabinet soon for consideration, and upon approval, construction works would begin while an orientation and sensitization exercise would be organised for the residents to ensure smooth implementation.
With regard to efforts to bridge the over two million housing deficit in the country, the Sector Minister said government would build 250,000 housing units, every year, for the next eight years and, thus, assured of government’s determination to complete the Affordable Housing Projects started under President Kufuor’s administration, estimated to cost US$51 million.
He mentioned some of the stalled social housing projects in areas such as Borteyman, Kpone/Tema, Asokore-Mampong, Koforidua,Tamale and Wa, explaining that no arrangement was made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to continue with the affordable housing undertaken in Wa, Tamale and Koforidua.
The Minister said although the Social Security and National Insurance Trust and the State Housing Company Limited signed a contract to complete some of the housing units at Borteyman, they did a commercial investment, rather than a social one; hence the houses were priced at commercial rate and somehow expensive for an average civil servant to afford.
Therefore, in line with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Manifesto, government would complete the inherited housing projects and that it was concluding financial arrangements with the Finance Ministry to complete the rest of the housing units.
“We’re going to witness a momentous and tectonic resolution of what has been mocking us as a people for all this length of time. Needless to say that when a nation gives priority to infrastructural development in the area of housing, the cascading economic effect and positive impact on the gross domestic product are immense,” Mr Atta Akyea said.
The Minister said the various programmes and projects being undertaken by the Ministry were capital intensive, which required adequate financing to achieve significant results for sustainable development and would utilise every available opportunity towards making the vision a reality.