Ghanas population is fast growing, cost of living is getting higher, unemployment has reached crescendo and rural urban drift has become the order of the day.
The rural urban drift for instance has resulted in lots of complications especially in the urban centers.
The hardest hit by the complications is the national capital, Accra which is seen as the hub for jobs. This interesting view has culminated in overpopulation of the national capital, and housing or accommodation for the migrants from the other parts of the country and the teaming young professionals has become a big challenge.
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Also, due to the overpopulation, there is oversupply of labour against the few job opportunities available.
This situation has given employers undue powers to exploit job seekers. Most of the working class in Ghana are so underpaid that they are unable to afford accommodation.
This is the reason why there are several slums dotted all over the national capital and other regional capitals in rare cases.The New patriotic Party government under the leadership of former President John Agyekum Kuffour initiated the 'affordable' housing project in 2006 in view of the challenge to ostensibly alleviate the situation.
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Over a decade down the line, one is tempted to ask how helpful have the affordable housing projects been to the housing situation in the country?
Investigations by the Pulse News team has revealed that, after ten years some of the houses are still under construction at different stages.
This is not to suggest that progress has not been made at all. As a matter of fact, some of the houses are already occupied by those who could afford them.
However, the question that begs for an answer is these projects were for a private developer would they still be under construction? Your guess is as good as mine.
Political inertia or lack of continuity in Ghana's political administration is obviously the biggest if not the sole reason why those houses being constructed at the expense of the taxpayer are still there mostly uncompleted, while the same taxpayers struggle on daily basis to find places to lay their heads.
Well, the 'good' news is that some of the 'affordable' houses are on sale. But the big question is, are they really affordable, and to whom are they being sold?When the News team visited the Borteyman site of the 'affordable' housing projects, it came to light that there are three categories of houses on sale. Upon enquiry,
1. A single room self contain 'affordable' house is selling at one hundred and seventeen thousand Ghana cedis (1.17 billion old currency)
2. Another one named, single room self contain 'special' is selling at one hundred and sixty eight thousand Ghana cedis (1.68 billion old currency)
3. Also, a two bedroom self contain house is selling at two hundred and twenty two thousand Ghana cedis (2.2 billion old currency).
But in all of these, the big caveat is that one must finish payment within only three months in order to be handed the keys.Some further questions that quickly come to mind are
1. What time period were the projects supposed to be completed per the documents?
2. Who did the government at the time have in mind as the beneficiaries of the 'affordable' housing when it was initiated?
3. Now, who can afford the houses after more than ten years of delay, Is it the politician or the ordinary Ghanaians for whom they were initially supposed to give respite to?
A security operative with Omega security services, the company contracted to provide security to the community revealed to the News team under condition of anonymity that, mostly wealthy Ghanaians, some of whom live abroad come to buy the houses on daily basis. She cited for instance a certain man who came and bought an entire three storey.
This man arguably does not fall in the category of Ghanaians who we were told the houses were meant for.
The initial plan for the houses was to mortgage them to civil servants, teachers and nurses to make life easier for them.
According to statistics, the average Ghanaian earns eight cedis, eighty pesewas (GHc 8.80) as a daily minimum wage. How much of that earnings and for how long will enable them to afford those houses?
I guess we can all arrive at a compromise that the 'affordable' houses are not really affordable to the very people whom they have been built for after all.
Because it is only the politician and businessmen and women who are already wealthy that can afford to pay for these houses within the three months deadline.
Can we then unanimously change the name from affordable housing to what is befitting?