Wednesday, 8 February 2017

An Open Letter To Ghana's New Minister for Works and Housing

''Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."
                     - John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Honourable Minister,

As you very well know, Ghana's housing deficit affects many hardworking Ghanaians, who because they are unable to save regularly, cannot possibly afford to  buy or build their own homes.

That is definitely tragic in an African democracy aspiring to become the continent's equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia. It is a societal problem that hits Ghana's younger generations particularly hard.

Yet, we can definitely do better as a people if we do some lateral thinking on the subject of making this an African democracy full of responsible citizens the vast majority of whom are proud home owners - with valuable individual stakes in their nation: contributing financially to district assemblies as property rate payers as it were.

That will make for a far  more stable Ghanaian society - in which each strata of society  has access to well-designed and well-built accommodation nationwide.

This open letter to you is our widow's mite contribution to the nation-building effort - and is intended to help you leave a legacy as the NPP government minister who made widespread home-ownership possible in Ghana: through creative and original thinking.

Sir, if you are creative enough in your thinking, you will find that it will not be beyond the realms of possibility for the regime of which you are such a prominent member, to empower the millions of honest, hardworking and aspirational Ghanaians for whom owning their own homes is presently  an impossible dream.

Honourable minister, if you are able to  convince the president and the  minister of finance to  agree to the ring-fencing of all the proceeds from the  National Lotteries Authority's various lotteries, that will provide our country with the werewithal to fund the construction of   affordable housing across the nation.

To make the NLA a better run and more profitable  entity providing funding for affordable housing projects, perhaps we could follow the UK's example and ask private companies from around the world to bid to operate the national lottery and channel money into a national affordable housing fund.

The idea simply is that every individual who buys a lottery ticket automatically enters into a special draw for the selection - by computer - of those to be put on a list of individuals to be allocated accommodation in well-designed and well-built homes in well-planned and green mixed-development gated-communities throughout Ghana.

Payment of monthly rent set at rates that all working people in Ghana can easily afford to pay, will be regarded as installment payments towards full home ownership, spread over say 25 years.

Reputable private-sector  real estate developers  could bid to build some of those homes - using precast concrete building technology.

This blog humbly recommends that you visit the  UK company, Precast Concrete Structures Limited (as soon as practicable), which has considerable experience putting up precast concrete structures in Britain, to inspect some of their completed projects.

The State Housing Company Limited and the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) could team up to enter into a joint-venture with Precast Concrete Structures Limited to introduce their technology to the Ghanaian market.

If the hard-of-hearing genuises who ruled Ghana before your party came to power had taken our advice and used precast concrete technology they could have completed all the 200 senior high schools they promised the nation - and many other structures across the nation too for that matter. Pity.

This blog also suggests that you talk to the U.S. builder, MekaWorld - whose modular housing technoligy could help you enable district assemblies to secure their finances by making it possible for them to build and rent out properties: by embarking on affordable housing projects with MekaWorld's technology in sundry win-win public private partnerships (PPP) with that innovative U.S. housebuilder.

Finally, to use a hackneyed local parlance phrase and risk jarring your ears: "Over to you, Joe Lartey!"

Congratulations on your appointment. This blog wishes you well, Honourable Samuel Atta Akyea MP.

Thank you - and regards.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

Kofi.



                               

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