Selling Saglemi Housing Units a bad idea-National Tenants Union to Gov’t

The National Tenants Union of Ghana (NTUG) has expressed its disappointment in Government for announcing to sell the 1,500 Saglemi housing units after grappling to secure funds to complete the project, reports.

Government, through the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso Boakye announced on November 13, 2022 that it has decided to wash its hands off the Saglemi housing project to allow a private developer to refurbish the housing units and sell to potential owners.

The sector Minister said the government is exhausted and handicapped and can’t make further commitments to the Saglemi project.

Following this development, National Tenants Union of Ghana through a press release copied to has urged Gov’t to reconsider its decision since it is not in the interest of the public.

“The National Tenants Union of Ghana is disappointed with Government announcement on 13th November 2022 of the privatization of Saglemi affordable housing project and, is pressing ahead with a change of its original plan.

It is shocking at a time when housing advocates are calling for social housing to curb the long time challenges in the housing affordability, the government is in hasty privatization of the country’s affordable housing, it runs counter to the government’s policy on poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable.”

“In a country like ours where there’s neglect and irresponsible management in the housing system and growing disparities in income, cost of rent and wealth have been central to the problem of affordable housing to the ordinary Ghanaian.

Privatization therefore undermines the very possibility of providing the affordable housing for people who cannot afford housing above the market rate.

In the face of this, we’re worried the step taken by Nana Addo / the NPP government to privatize Saglemi affordable housing project is just another step toward dismantling public housing altogether.”

“We seriously oppose the move by the minister of housing and the government, and caution the use of the divestiture programme as a political patronage instrument to reward the regime’s friends and political insiders, has conferred limited success for privatisation in achieving its goal of enhancing efficiency, private sector investment and public benefits.

This’ll be a great job for someone else–but a Genocide of Poor People. It’s a total Abandon HOPE for the poor.

National Tenants Union of Ghana, therefore call on the minister of Housing to revert it’s decision and convert the Saglimi housing project to social housing to create access to housing to the low-income population, Instead of derailing it’s original purpose to private sector who are more efficient in profit maximisation.”

“We want to emphasize that, the right to quality, affordable and accessible housing is a universal human right which government and it’s agents must protect, instead of the frivolous reasons being played against already disenfranchised population on a deliberate and staged privatization agenda.
We call on President Akuffo Addo to put moratorium on this privatization agenda and further engage stakeholders on means to make affordable housing of this project a possibility.

In conclusion, we the 15 million NATUG membership gives government a sixty days ultimatum to reverse it’s decision and commit to the project, else we pledge to resist this move by all legal means possible.” The statement fully reads.

The Saglemi housing project was started in 2012 under the NDC government to build 5000 housing units.

This did not materialize due to alleged misappropriation of funds.

Currently, a former Works and Housing Minister under the Mahama administration, Collins Dauda, is standing trial together with four others for allegedly causing financial loss to the State in the controversial housing project.

Mr. Dauda and the four others are facing 52 counts of criminal charges for intentionally misapplying public property, willfully causing financial loss to the Republic, and dishonestly causing loss to public property.

Alhaji Collins Dauda and his successor Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah, have been accused of spending over $196 million on the Saglemi housing project when investigations revealed that the cost of works executed on the site, including consultancy services, was about $64,982,900.77.

A copy of the press release from the National Tenants Union of Ghana.

Source: II 2022

Evans Osei-Bonsu

Evans is a radio producer @PureFM (95.7MHz) under the Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN Ghana), writer, student of Law and Politics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

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