The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye (MP), has announced that the government has decided to explore the possibility of selling the Saglemi Housing Project, comprising 1,506 housing units, at the current value to a private sector entity to complete and sell at no further cost to the state.
Proceeds from the sale will come to the state, he says, and be reinvested in the government’s affordable housing programme.
To facilitate the processes, the sector minister said, a technical working team made up of professionals and experts has been set up to oversee and spearhead all engagements required to complete the project.
This, Asenso-Boakye said, is being done with the aim of ensuring transparency and accountability, while guaranteeing value for money in the completion of the project.
The minister made these decisions known at the Minister’s Briefing to update the public and press on recent developments in the works and housing sector, held today in Accra.
The Saglemi Affordable Housing Project was initiated in 2012 for the delivery of 5,000 housing units at a total cost of US$200 million, under an engineering-procurement-contracting (EPC) agreement with Messrs Construtora OAS Ghana Ltd. The original contract was amended three times, in effect reducing the project scope to 1,506 housing units, even though $195,854,969.52 was expended – 98% of the project funds.
That notwithstanding, none of the 1,506 housing units was habitable. The project remains at various stages of completion and lacks basic amenities such as water, electricity and related services.
An interim technical assessment report by the Ghana Institution of Surveyors, carried out in September 2020, valued the total cost of works on site at US$64,982,900.74.
In line with the government’s commitment to forestall further deterioration of the Saglemi scheme, Asenso-Boakye said his ministry has been engaging cabinet, the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice on the best viable options to complete the project.
Following a comprehensive assessment of the project, the sector minister disclosed that the government would have to allocate additional financing of approximately $46 million to provide off-site infrastructure such as water, electricity and a storm drain to make the housing units habitable.
“Additionally, there is the need to invest approximately US$68 million to complete the buildings, and other essential on-site infrastructure works,” the minister said.
Asenso-Boakye said that, given the huge discrepancies between the state of the project and the funds expended on it, the government no longer intends to sink any more taxpayers’ money into efforts to complete the project.
Robust and sustainable infrastructure
Reiterating the sector ministry’s commitment, however, to ensuring a robust and sustainable development of public works and housing infrastructure, the minister called for greater regard for rules and regulations governing the country’s settlement planning, as well as development control.
At the same time, he admonished Ghanaians to be more intentional in managing their household solid waste.
Touching on the review of the Rent Act 1963 (Act 220) and Rent Control Law 1986 (PNDCL 138), Asenso-Boakye said that cabinet, after extensive engagements on the draft Rent Bill 2022 at its last meeting on 27 October 2022, gave approval for the draft bill and recommended it to Parliament for consideration.
The minister said he believes that Parliament will commence engagements on the bill soon and that the consultation will culminate in the bill’s successful enactment.