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Lower-income earners must benefit from affordable houses – TUC

TUC, signed by Secretary-General Dr. Yaw Baah

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has asked government to put measures in place to ensure that lower- and middle-income earners in the country benefit from the affordable houses being constructed under the National Mortgage and Housing Finance Initiative (NMHFI).

According to the Deputy Secretary General of the Union, Mr Joshua Ansah, oftentimes when governments come up with such initiatives, the targeted beneficiaries did not have access to them, as the rich rather bought them.

“The situation where we will have the rich in society acquiring these homes and renting them out to workers is something that we would be happy if a mechanism is put in place to avert,” he said.

“We, therefore, appeal to the government to ensure that lower- and middle-income earners are the real owners of the houses,” he said, and urged public sector workers to immediately apply to own such houses.

Mr Ansah made this appeal on Monday at the opening of the GH₵45-million estate having 204 housing units at Tema Community 22 for nurses and teachers in the community.

In addition, the Secretary General asked the government to consider granting exemptions on VAT (Value Added Tax) and customs duties on building materials, as well as plants and equipment imported into the country, exclusively for the affordable housing projects.

He asked the government to speed up the process of developing and passing the proposed National Housing and Asset Ownership Act, which would ensure the mandatory contribution of workers towards house ownership or rental payment.

While lauding the government for the Community 22 project, he said the Union was in discussion with the government to explore best ways to drive its policy for housing delivery to ensure large-scale home ownership, especially among low-income earners in the country.

Similarly, President of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Patrick Ebo Bonful, called for the review of Mortgage Act, 2008 (Act 770), Lands Commission Act, 2008 (Act 767), and the Land Title Registration Law, PNDC Law 152.

The review, according to him, would allow for effective mortgage financing and delivery of affordable housing in the country.

Addressing the concerns raised, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said, “I want to assure the president of GREDA that, I have taken note of the request, and the laws in the industry and the Mortgage Act and the others will be a subject of review.”

Meanwhile, a Board Member of the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), Madam Valerie Ashitey, has explained that the TDC was poised to partner the government to provide the needed affordable houses to Ghanaians.

 

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