The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, has said the government is committed to completing the Saglemi housing project despite recent allegations made by former President John Dramani Mahama that the project has been abandoned for political reasons.
The minister said President Akufo-Addo reiterated this commitment during the launch of a new housing project in Pokuase recently.
Former president John Mahama has accused the Akufo-Addo government of halting the housing project because it was initiated by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to him, the move to abandon the project is an attempt to waste taxpayers’ money on the now abandoned National Cathedral project.
But the Works and Housing Minister said the government is actively taking necessary steps to ensure the completion of the project.
To address the challenges faced by the Saglemi housing project, the minister revealed that the government is considering involving the private sector in its implementation.
This decision was made after careful consideration and extensive consultations, with cabinet convening three times to review the project’s complexities and its financial challenges. The conclusion reached was that private sector participation would offer the most viable approach to ensure the project’s successful completion.
Asenso-Boakye further elaborated on the financial analysis conducted by the government. Despite an initial investment of nearly US$200 million, the Saglemi project still requires substantial additional funding. Approximately US$46 million is needed for off-site infrastructure development, covering essential amenities such as water, electricity, drainage works, among others.
Moreover, an additional US$68 million is required to complete on-site works, which include the repair and completion of the existing units, sewerage system, civic amenities, among others. This brings the total additional costs to a staggering US$114 million, on top of the funds already spent.
In light of the ongoing court case surrounding the project, the minister disclosed that he had taken proactive steps to continue the Saglemi project.
He had sought approval from the Attorney General’s office, which was granted, allowing the government to proceed with the necessary actions to ensure the project’s eventual completion. This demonstrated the administration’s unwavering dedication to delivering on its promise reviving the Saglemi housing project.
Regarding the decision to initiate a new housing project in Pokuase, Asenso-Boakye clarified that it is part of a fresh strategy involving collaboration with the private sector for housing development.
Drawing inspiration from successful models in other African countries, the government aims to work alongside private sector entities in constructing houses for citizens. This approach not only ensures cost-effectiveness but also capitalizes on the expertise and experience of private sector partners.
“Since becoming minister, we have studied the approach adopted by many other African countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, among others, where the government collaborates with the private sector in developing houses for the citizens.
This not only saves the government a significant amount of financial stress but also allows us to benefit from the expertise and experience of the private sector,” he added.
The minister passionately called on all politicians to rise above partisan interests and focus on the national interest, while providing affordable and habitable housing for the citizens of Ghana.