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Ghana @65: Tenants Union of Ghana takes on NPP over failed policies on housing

The National Tenants Union of Ghana (NATUG) which has been a major advocate for better housing conditions for Ghanaians has waded into the celebration of Ghana’s 65th Independence Anniversary celebrations.

The group is impressing upon the ruling NPP government under President Nana Akufo-Addo to, as a matter of urgency, help address the housing deficit situation in the country.

According to the group, as it stands today in Ghana’s 65 years of independence from British colonial rule, the housing deficit has hit a record high exceeding 3.5 million housing units.

NATUG further indicates that 65 years on, Ghana can only reverse the trend by improving the supply of 200,000 units annually for a continuous period of 10 years.

The group made these revelations in a press release signed by its Secretary-General, Mr. Frederick Opoku, and issued on Tuesday 8th March 2022 after a weekend of some Independence Day activities.

They have also given the government an ultimatum that from now to September 2022, the union will hit the streets in a massive protest to pour out their frustrations if the current state of the SAGLEMI AFFORDABLE HOUSING Project is not fixed.

The Union expressed shock as to why up to date, the National Housing Policy that took Ghana over 40 years to put together has been left unimplemented 7 years after it was launched in 2015.

Below is the full statement:

EXPEDITE ACTION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY

The Tenants Union of Ghana extends its gratitude and heartfelt sympathies to all tenants in Ghana.

We as a Union assures them our absolute commitments, and pledges to stand by them despite the challenges they face in their dealings with landlords, property owners and their cohorts.

The Union is dismayed and disappointed with the pace at which government is working to improve the housing delivery in Ghana.

As it stands today in Ghana’s 65 years of independence and nationhood, the housing deficit has hit a record high exceeding 3.5 million housing units. Ghana can only reverse the trend by improving the supply of 200,000 units annually for a continuous period of 10 years.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the HON. ASENSO BOAKYE for opening up to the Association and being a listening minister. We appreciate this symbolic gesture and urge him to remain open to all stakeholders.

The Union in no uncertain terms are not happy about the pace government is working to implement the many promises on housing mentioned in their 2020 Manifesto.

The NPP government promised Ghanaians of creating the enabling environment to support them with soft loans to pay for their rent under their prolific National Rental Assistance Scheme (NARAS).

In 2021, a budget of GHC100 MILLION was approved by Ghana Parliament for this purpose but shockingly, no disbursements whatsoever have been made so far, and we are worried, though the Hon. Minister, Asenso Boakye has confirmed that cabinet is working out for payments to start.

The Union would like to take this opportunity once again, to express its displeasure on the slow pace government has taken to review the rent law which has outlived its usefulness 58 years after its enactment.

It has taken more than a decade for past and present governments to amend the law, though in a recent meeting with Hon. Asenso Boakye, the cabinet has given way for the law to be reviewed.

We hope this assurance does not become a lip service as witnessed in previous years.

On housing delivery, we are pessimistic looking at the government’s response to delivering real affordable housing for low-income citizens to benefit. Once again, the Tenants Union would like to remind the government of its 2020 housing pledges to Ghanaians, where the NPP government sought to build pro-poor and low-income houses relative to social housing.

We want to take this opportunity to remind government of our petition on 21st April 2021, in which we asked that the SAGLEMI AFFORDABLE HOUSING project in which the government secured USD $200 Million to build be converted into a social housing scheme, where over 1,500 housing units have been left to rot under the vagaries of the weather, whilst Ghanaians are suffering to get a place to lay their heads is barbaric and unacceptable to say the least.

We are giving the government from now up to September 2022 to come out and tell Ghanaians what their plans on that project are, or we hit the streets to demonstrate and register our displeasure on the matter.

It is interesting to note that one standard affordable housing unit is sold for GHC99,000, two standard bedrooms going for GHC182,000 and three standard bedrooms at GHC335,000 sadly are not within the reach of 95% of Ghanaians to afford.

The Association is dismayed why up to date, the National Housing Policy that took Ghana over 40 years to put together has been left unimplemented 7 years after it was launched in 2015.

The housing delivery strategy has been spelled out in the policy; yet, the government is reluctant to implement it.

We believe that the surest way to avert the current trend of housing deficit in the country is to implement the policy. We, therefore, implore the government through the Sector Minister, Hon. Asenso Boakye to take necessary steps to fully implement the only housing policy of the land.

We wish all Ghanaians a happy 65th Independence Day.

SIGNED

FREDERICK OPOKU

SECRETARY-GENERAL   

(TENANTS UNION OF GHANA)

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