An Internal Consultant at IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Dennis Asare, has alluded that the manifestos presented by the two leading political parties in Ghana, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) does not address the long-standing housing deficit in the country, which currently stands at 2 million.
Speaking on PM Express, Mr. Asare intimated that from 1970 to 2020, the population verses the deficit keeps going on a hike. Augmenting his point, he revealed that Ghana is about 60% urbanized, estimating that by 2025, Ghana is expected to be about 65% urbanized, which will increase the demand for housing, therefore hiking the housing deficit.
From the analysis in figure 1, it is clearly noticed that the population verses housing has constantly been on a hike over the period of years, “because, as your population increases and the rate of urbanization also increases, the first thing the pressure goes on is access to homes,” he posited.
Figure 1 : Population and Housing Deficit (1970-2020)
“Over the years, from independence to structural adjustment programs areas, economic recovery area and even to the fourth republic, all the housing policies, because they failed to tackle the informal sector building, that is why we don’t see most of these policies materializing to solve the deficit.”
Commenting on the analysis in figure 2, the graph deduced that only 9.4% individuals can afford the cheapest affordable homes.
The Ghana Living Standard survey (GLSS) has intimated that the average income as a country or annual income of a household is estimated at GHC 33,000. But, if the population is broken into 5 segments, the quintal group from one to three made up of people who work in the informal sector and who live in the slums, live below GHC 23,000 impeding that part of the group to afford even the cheapest house in the country.
Figure 2: Annual Income Profile for Rural and Urban Households based on consumption (PPP$)
“You know, the real estate companies are not interested in building houses for the low-income earners because, it is not attractive. Why should they even spend money and go in? If you should look at the 2020 manifesto of the two parties (NDC and NPP), they seek to incentivize the real estate to grow because, it is not an attractive venture.”
Highlighting the key issues, Mr. Dennis Asare stated that even though Ghana’s housing demand has shot up to 100,000 annually, the formal sector falls short on the demand by producing 5000 houses per annum. The NDC in its manifesto stated that in their 4years tenure when elected, will produce about 5000 units annually in partnership with the private sector, “what we should understand also is that, out of the 30 percent supply of that 100,000, we have about 80 or 82 percent being supplied from the informal sector but, formally for you to estimate or do a projection, the NDC uses the real estate sector as the basis of their estimation.” he opined.
Pressing home the policies of the NDC, ‘the Peoples’ Manifesto’, posited that the Metropolitan, Municipal District Assemblies will work with traditional authorities to acquire lands for the housing project. However, the Internal Consultant argues that, there will be a challenge surrounding the acquisition of lands from traditional authorities because, 80% of the land transactions and management are owned at the customary ownership level which poses challenges such as clear land, right clear ownership right, clear boundaries, financing and getting the lands registered, opining that these challenges the NDC is more likely to face, may stall in the continuation of the project intended by the NDC.
Meanwhile, the incumbent NPP pledged that the National Housing Programme unit which is currently ongoing, will be increased by threefold (15,000) annually by both public and private sectors. However, Mr. Asare posited that, “should all of the public housing; that is around private framework come on stream, we should see that three-fold increase. But, if that one is not materialized and we are going solely, like the NDC approach of a private sector, then it will not be realistic.”
An overly ambitious promise according to the Internal Consultant, which might pose a difficulty for the NDC, is the Zongo Housing scheme pledged to provide affordable housing in Zongo and deprived urban settlements.
In a bid to make an argument, Mr. Asare alluded that houses built for the high-income bracket makes a return of about 15.9% while houses built for the low-income earners, is estimated at 12.9%, which begs the question, “what would incentivize a bank to invest in housing within a Zongo community knowing that, the risk is very high”?
However, the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Samuel Atta akyea, revealed that if the NPP want to tackle the housing deficit aggressively, the housing deficit that would be delivered in 4 years will be estimated at a minimum of 200,000 units per annum, unlike the 5000 units estimated by the opposition NDC.
“And even more, when we apply ourselves properly to a state of the art technology that we believe we should apply, where you can have prefabricated structures that, within 21 days you can see a decent place of abode because, so far as we are concerned, if go through the normal way of building houses, I am afraid, this deficit would be mocking us for a long time.”
Analyzing the track record of the Akufo-Addo led government, Mr. Atta-Akyea noted that the NPP government has not been able to deliver ‘mainstream’ housing units due to lack of finances in the Ministry and because of a GHC 33 billion inherited debt from the NDC, the major intervention on ‘free SHS’, planting for food and jobs and construction of roads.
Buttressing claims of a positive track record by the NDC, the Ranking Member for Works and Housing Committee, Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah, posited that 1600 housing units which started in the Kufuor administration was completed by the NDC in 2016 at Boteyman in Accra.
Also, a housing unit which began in the Kufuor’s Administration of 125 units was completed by the NDC in Kumasi.
“So, they (NPP) don’t have the track record. We have the track record to be able to deliver well when it comes to the housing sector.”
In their partying shots, both leading political parties in Ghana are optimistic that when elected into power, will help minimize the acute challenge of housing deficit in Ghana especially, Accra.