According to the Executive Director of the Centre for Public Opinion and Awareness (CenPOA), Donyina Mensah, the government is only recycling ideas for affordable housing projects in Ghana.
He stated that the government is interested in recycling existing ideas rather than developing new ones to help address Ghana’s housing deficit.
In response to the new 8,000-unit housing project and the sod-cutting ceremony, he said it was commendable, but there were some issues the centre discovered.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last week broke ground on the Pokuase Housing project, the first project under the government’s new National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP).
The Pokuase project aims to provide 8,000 housing units through a strategic partnership with the private sector to meet the housing needs of Ghanaians, particularly low-to-medium-income earners.
President Akufo-Addo said at the sod-cutting ceremony in Accra on Tuesday that the government would have incurred more debt if the Saglami Housing Project had been completed.
Reacting to the project, the Executive Director of CenPOA said, The project is laudable, but the challenge is that we feel the government is only recycling the ideas and has failed to introduce a new approach to solving the housing deficit we have in Ghana.
”This is not a new initiative; it is just another initiative introduced by previous governments. I just thought they were reinventing the wheel.”
He stated that any attempt to address the housing deficit should be applauded. However, there must be no scandals or suspicions in the project.
In his opinion, where people sleep is critical, and next to food because where humans will lay their heads after food is important, and so ”if a government takes steps to introduce a project to provide housing for citizens, it must be commended.
However, the challenge we face as a centre is that similar projects have been abandoned by successive governments. We are concerned about this news because when one government takes over from another, the new government does not implement any new policies to address the deficit, but instead recycles old ones that did not work. We have lost or wasted resources in the past years by embarking on these initiatives.
Another issue is that our government does not keep accurate records of these projects and their costs to the nation. The government is terrible at this. It has been proven that the government has failed at the affordable housing project over the years, and yet they continue to make the same mistakes as their predecessors.”
He told host Kwabena Agyapong that development is a continuous process and that no government can eradicate poverty during its tenure, emphasising the importance of our leaders’ understanding that development is and must remain continuous.
It will be difficult for us to progress if our leaders fail to recognise that development is a continuous process. Similar projects, such as the Saglemi Housing Project, have failed because there was no return on investment. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon the project. We will lose even more money if we abandon the project. We should have planned for the completion of the Saglemi project before starting the new one.
But because the various governments always use development as a means to attract voters and, secondly, because such projects are a means for government officials to get kickbacks and make money, they do not show interest in pre-existing projects and move on to establish new ones. That is very bad, and we are disappointed in the current government for initiating this project without making sure that the old project was taken care of.”