A group calling itself “Team Saglemi Not for Sale” says it will fight any government attempts to sell the over 1,500 housing units to a private developer.
The group believes that the government should seek funding in order to complete and sell affordable housing units to ordinary Ghanaians.
Nana Otu Darko, the group’s convenor, warned private developers nursing interest in the controversial project to stay off.
“We are sending a strong signal of warning to any private developer who intends to take over the project. Any private developer who ventures does that, at his or her own peril. We will compel the successive government to cancel such contract,” he said during a press conference in Accra.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso Boakye announced last year government’s intention to dispose of the project due to a lack of funds to complete the project.
For nearly six years, the project has been dormant.
According to the group, the $200 million invested in the project will better serve the needs of ordinary people and bridge the housing deficit if the government commits to finishing it.
“We do not want Saglemi to be sold because we believe that government’s decision to sell off Saglemi to a private developer defeats the purpose of affordability. The primary reason why the loan was contracted was to help in building affordable housing to ease accommodation deficit.”
Below is the full statement
PRESS STATEMENT ON “SAGLEMI HOUSING PROJECT NOT FOR SALE” ISSUED IN ACCRA ON 16TH FEBRUARY, 2023d
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press and fellow citizens and distinguished platform guests. Many thanks for availing yourselves. We are here today to announce to you our stand concerning government’s intention to sell Saglemi Housing Units started by the erstwhile Mahama led administration.
As we all know, Saglemi is a public housing project located at Prampram in the Ningo Prampram District in the Greater Accra Region. The project was started in 2012 by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under John Mahama to ease the accommodation deficit in Ghana.
Ghana has lurching housing deficit of not less than 1.8million according to recent reports by the Ghana Statistical Service. Meanwhile, according to other recent reports, higher rental rates, mortgages, building materials, etc against the evergreen low incomes and unemployment is a crystal indication that the housing deficit may not end any time soon. It is therefore imperative to treat affordable housing related projects with indescribable seriousness and urgency especially at a time that streetism keeps growing by day, “KAYAYES’” keep multiplying their numbers with many placed homeless for lack of basic shelter and also due to the ever increasing cost of rent.
- History and Agreement to commence the project
The project was funded by Credit Suisse following a Parliament of Ghana approval, and granted on October 13, 2012, in line with Article 181(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
On January 4, 2013, the Ministry of Finance who was the borrower and the lender signed a facility agreement for the release of $200 million to fund the construction of the 5,000 housing units, Collins Dauda who was the then Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing signed the Engineering Procurement and Construction Agreement with Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, represented by Clocanas. In November 2013, former President John Mahama cut the sod for the first phase of the Housing Project, in what was described as the most ambitious housing project in the West Africa sub- region.
The over 300-acre 1,506-housing units facility, which comprises one to three-bedroom apartments and townhouses, is 80 percent complete and earmarked to be occupied by residents in the near future, therefore helping to reduce the national housing deficit. The facility which sits on the 300-acre land was meant to be a 5000-residential housing units. It has one to three- bedroom flats for persons who earn low income and the agreement signed by the erstwhile government stated it would be done in four phases.
Phase one saw the building of 180 blocks comprising over 1,500 flats.
Controversy over the project
The project became a matter of controversy after the New Patriotic Party took power after years of abandonment. Samuel Atta Akyea, Fomer minister of works and housing initially posited that the agreement was botched following an alleged acts of embezzlement by some former NDC government officials to the effect that out of the 5,000 proposed housing units approved by parliament only 1506 housing units were done at various stages of completion. TEAM SAGLEMI maintains our firmest position that the laws of the land must deal appropriately with such individuals found culpable if any.
Government’s position to selling Saglemi housing project to a private developer
According to Hon Asenso Boakye, the government has decided to lay hands off the Saglemi housing project to pave way for a private developer to refurbish the housing units and sell them to potential owners. According to the Hon Minister, the government is exhausted and financially handicapped and as a result cannot make any further fiscal commitment to the Saglemi project.
When TEAM SAGLEMI NOT FOR SALE engaged the Minister and his team of expert Directors including but not limited to the Ministry’s chief director upon the Minister’s invitation, they unanimously affirmed their stringent and incorrigible position to sell the Saglemi housing project to a private developer for lack of funds.
Meanwhile, the same government that cries for being suffocated financially per our undisclosed checks, have strangely decided to build from scratch some 12,000 affordable housing units using the from the sale proceeds from Saglemi after it has been sold. This we find very disingenuous to the economic and socio-political health of our nation, and this is happening in Ghana at a time when Ghana can boast of very few national assets. Ghana airways, Black star line, Ghana’s Drill ship, Ghana Telecom, Numerous Nkrumah’s factories, amongst many other national assets have been sold off to aliens due to greed and limited vision. We will not keep mute and watch Saglemi housing projects meet her untimely death like the enumerated ones earlier stated.
the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye intimated that the government had decided to explore the possibility of selling the Saglemi Housing Project, covering the 1,506 housing units at the current value to a private sector entity to complete and sell (the housing units) to the public at no further cost to the state. He further stated that what makes the Saglemi Housing Project even more complicated is that government has already expanded approximately $196 million on the project as has been submitted therefore upon further consideration, government does not intend to expend additional tax-payers money towards the completion of the project.
He added that proceeds from the sale was going to go the state and reinvested into the new affordable housing projects situated at Amasaman. A project the Minister argued they have not received funding for or met the said private developer in question and yet every indication on the current state of the Amasaman land shows and confirms work in progress. Where did the Ministry get the seed fund to begin the minimal work on the new land?
GROUP’S POSITION ON SALE
The group want to state emphatically that we are against any plan by the sitting government or any future government to get a private developer to buy off the Saglemi Housing Project.
We would, therefore, do whatever it takes to compel the government to look for funding to complete the project.
The sale of Saglemi housing project defeats the purpose of affordability for which the government of Ghana contracted the loans. Affordability is not in the books of any private business person.
Therefore, how affordable will the proposed private developer sell the housing units to Ghanaians especially when they are in business to make profit? How affordable is it when government is even the one selling it talk less of a profit oriented private business person.
Team Saglemi not for sale further wish to state devoid of any ambiguity or equivocation that, the project is not a failed one only that the government had not decided to prioritize it
We are stating our position clear that we would not want any private developer to come in. Any private developer that ventures does that at his or her own peril as future government would be compelled by Team saglemi not for sale to cancel such unpatriotic contract…
The said 55million dollars to build the newly proposed 12,000 housing units is incorrect as according to the minister Hon Asenso Boakye, that amount only constitute less than 40% of the total funds needed for the government and the private partner to finish the new project. In fact, the 55million dollars-40% share constitutes government’s role in the new project at Amasaman which even includes the provision of the land for the project which is less than the total amount of money needed to build the 12,000 housing project. It is expected that the private partner bears the rest of 60%.
More importantly, the group hereby appeal to the President, Ghana’s Parliament, and the Council of State to halt government’s decision of giving Saglemi Housing project out unceremoniously to a private developer without any real benefit to the Saglemi Township or even the military that the land was acquired in their name (per our checks) as well as the whole nation.
From the entire Team Saglemi Housing not for sale, we wish to further reiterate and re-echo solidly once more that the Project is not for Sale and that we will do everything within our human and legal powers to force government to rescind such ill and premature decision.
We wish you a productive weekend ahead.
Nana Otu Darko Lead Convener