Saturday, February 12, 2011

In Relation To The Affordable Housing Project

Ghanaians from all walks of life continue to share their views on the affordable housing project between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering of Korea whose construction is taking place in all 10 regions of the country.
This was what the people of Atomic Junction in Accra had to say about this project.

This project is very good because it is going to affect the ordinary Ghanaian directly. It would also be one of the most memorable legacies of the President Mills led administration. All Ghanaians must embrace this project because it would reduce the burden of lack of accommodation on many of our people. We need more of these projects such as state-run agriculture, manufacturing etc. Our people need jobs urgently. If you are gainfully employed, you would be able to attain whatever goals you set for yourself. I am very proud of the President for gradually putting this country back on track.”

We are very excited about this development because these buildings are going to replace the old ones. Also the problem most landlords give to tenants because they are living in their houses would also be no more. As for me, I hope the beneficiaries of these houses would find  good reasons to do everything within their means to vote for the NDC in the 2012 general elections. There is more benefit we stand to gain if we keep this government in power. This one is not like the “monkye ndi” attitude of the NPP where the houses would have been distributed among Kufuor and his cronies. I hope everyone can testify to the massive road construction that is currently taking place all over the country and very soon the traffic congestion and the chaos on the roads would soon be a thing of the past. President Mills has a lot of love and sympathy for the good people of this country so lets support him in order to ensure that his mission is accomplished.”

It is very well known that for a long time the majority of the Ghanaian people have not had a decent housing and for that matter have had to sleep “rough”. It was Kwesi Pratt who drew our attention to the fact that the holes under bridges are homes to some families and this is just pathetic. This has had to happen because over a long period of time the governments that have come and gone did not do much to solve the problem of lack of accommodation. Any time the houses were built they were so expensive that it was the rich in society who quickly rushed in and bought those houses. We need to start a very special programme which would aim at just providing shelter to the very poor in society who have made the lorry stations and the pavements of the roads their homes.”

I do not think this is something we should waste valuable time talking about because it was for these reasons we went to the polls and elected Mills and his people to run this country. Apart from food and clothing, it is obvious that a man would have to put a shelter over his head but because not all people in the society would be able to do so, it is always advisable that the government takes a key role in providing this basic human right of accommodation. If we believe Mills can do what he has just started then lets support him and give him the necessary encouragement because housing is very important part of the development of every human being.”                                                                                  

“Until you approached me today I have not heard about this. The number of houses to be built are many and this would certainly make our Military Officers happy because at last their dedication to the service of the nation has been recognized. I hope the government would also extend these buildings to other parts of the Northern Regions and not just that but also the development of agriculture in those regions. I wish to call on all Ghanaians to pray for this government and the good works it is rendering unto the people of this country.

I have nothing much about this project and let me say that it does not excite me in any way. There is no way the suffering Ghanaian is going to become the beneficiary of these houses. You tell me, do you think that plantain sellers across the street has gotten what it takes to buy one of those houses or you want to tell me you do not know that? We are being deceived every now and then and I believe very soon the people of this country are going to rise up and take the destiny of this country into their hands. We work very hard day and night and it is the elite and their good for nothing children who appropriate the fruits of our labour. Let them finish the buildings and see if you can even buy one if you have GHC 6000. The deception is enough and these men are making me very annoyed.

I hope politicians would have by now understood that we have been taking part in the electoral process of this country precisely because of our hope and believe that one day there would be an improvement in our standard of living. I am glad this housing project has finally started and would certainly bring some smiles unto the faces of a sections of the Ghanaian populace. However, it is obvious that a lot more need to be done and I am not saying that that should happen within a twinkle of an eye but we must see evidence and be made to believe that that would happen. Travel around the country and you would see the humiliating conditions under which some Ghanaians live. Where is our dignity? Our leaders must begin to give us hope!”

President Atta Mills has told us to believe in him and that he would never disappoint us. I am confident and I hope that by the time his eight years tenure of office is over, he would have made life very comfortable for all Ghanaians. I plead with him to keep an eye on his Ministers and ensure that they are not corrupted by the position they occupy. We want to go to the 2012 elections with a clean sheet. No one should go chasing after anyone’s wife and they should leave the university girls alone. Ministers must learn never to be arrogant because it is one thing the electorate hate much and that is why in spite of the huge amount of money NPP put in the last elections they still lost. Pay the workers their salaries on time and share with them in their moments of grief and pain. Go down to the people and sit on the floor if they have no chairs in their homes. Just listen to their stories and complains and give them hope and I bet that you would find favour with them".

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Regarding The Nation-Wide Affordable Housing Project (2)

A massive housing project to provide an initial 30,000 units for the country's security agencies kicked off with a sod-cutting ceremony performed by President John Atta Mills at the Tesano Police Depot in Accra on 27th January 2011. The public-private partnership between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering and Construction company of Korea involves $1.50 billion and is aimed at providing decent accommodation for more than 70 percent of Ghanaians who cannot afford to buy or build their own houses.
This is what the people of Ayalolo in Central Accra had to say about the project :

I am exceedingly happy about the housing project which has finally been launched across the country by President Mills. At long last the hardworking Ghanaian who has no place to lay his head after the day’s work can have a descent shelter. This is what the majority of Ghanaians have been waiting for and thank God by the wisdom of the President this dream would finally be accomplished. These are the things which give meaning to the long hours we queue in the blazing sun to cast our ballots for a political party for what is government if it is not able to address the concerns and the needs of the people? God bless our nation Ghana.”

My good friend, look at the condition of the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces and let anyone  say they do not deserve these houses which are going to be built for them and the majority of the civilian population. These are the men who risk their lives day and night to maintain law and order and also to protect this beautiful country against external aggression. For long we have debated and held very useless discussions about what needed to be done concerning accommodating our military officers. The debate must come to an end now and let’s join hands to ensure that this noble project takes off without any hiccups. It is not above the Fire Service Officer, the Assistant Superintendent of Police or the Second Lieutenant of the military to also have a decent housing”.

“Talk to the ordinary Ghanaian at any given hour and his or her headache has to do with the increasing rent they are compelled to pay to the landlords especially in Accra. There is a serious struggle going on currently between tenants who are faced by ejection because a foreigner is offering the landlord a better deal for his room. The students of the various universities are most pathetic. My father told me his days at the university were the most memorable because of the atmosphere and the infrastructure that was put in place for them to study and become useful citizens of this country. Those were the days a student had a room to himself and ate the best of meals coupled with the spacious lecture halls. The situation is now different and you would be amazed the kinds of work these beautiful young women do deep in the night just so they can pay for the cost of living in a hostel in order to further their education. It hurts me much but what can I do than pray that this affordable housing project is completed on time so that our sisters and brothers can have a place to sleep after school”.

President John Mills has once again fulfilled one of his cardinal election campaign promises. We were in a state of absolute shock when we witnessed the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did everything they could to prevent the smooth take-off of this project but lo and behold we came out victorious and the people of this country can finally hope for a place to take a rest after the day because of the good heart of this President. It is left for us to decide whether to maintain this administration of Mills or bring back the nation looters. They came to us and promised us heaven but what did the NPP do for the people of this country when we gave them our mandate? They robbed and raped all they came across and in the end the Ghanaian was left with nothing”.

There can be no doubting the fact that this housing project would most definitely bring immense relief to the good people of this country but I have one worry. In the past we have seen governments under the various administrations started other projects but not on this magnitude, but what happened to them? Immediately there was a change over of Government, the projects were brought to a halt after billions of the tax payer’s money had been expended on these projects. Would this nationwide affordable housing project face a similar fate? Again, who are going to become the beneficiaries of these buildings? Is it the very poor and rugged man walking on the street or the wealthier members of our society who have already made properties and riches for their great-grand children yet unborn? “

“ I would have wished the financial resources for this housing programme had gone into the creation of direct employment for the teaming young men and women who have nothing to do when they wake up from bed. All of these children have natural talents which must be nurtured and developed for the speedy develpoment of this country. Some of them haven’t been to school but are able to undertake very basic tasks which helps them live. Why aren’t we spending this money in building vocational schools to equip these young ones with the skills they require for the job market? If the people have decent employment and are able to make good income I do not think we would need government to provide affordable housing because they can do so themselves”.

From the way things are going I can predict the President can win the 2012 elections by a landslide. Promises of affordable housing have been made by all the governments which have come and gone but none have been able to make it a reality. The quota which has been allotted to the security services is also good. As a country if we are to expect the best from our Armed Forces then we must take good care of them. Whilst we ran helter skelter at the sight of danger these are the men and women who show their faces and ensure that the danger is removed”.

I have no worry at all if the tax payer’s monies are going to be spent on such viable projects. Apart from food and clothing, every human being as a matter of right must have access to housing. For how long must our brothers and sisters make the pedestrian walk-ways and the pavements by the road close to the gutters which breed deadly mosquito that brings them all manner of ailment, their places of rest? Once again we are being made to take pride in being citizens of this wonderful country by the leadership of faithful and wise President. However, I wish a lot more attention is given to the civilian population instead of the security services. As we speak there has been a huge increment in the salaries of service personnel so on what basis are we giving them these houses? I also wish to call on the President to take measures towards addressing the worsening unemployment situation. We need industries and factories run by the state to employ these young ones towards national development”.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Concerning The Massive Housing Projects Across Ghana.

A massive housing project to provide an initial 30,000 units for the country's security agencies kicked off with a sod-cutting ceremony performed by President John Atta Mills at the Tesano Police Depot in Accra on 27th January 2011. The public-private partnership between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering and Construction Company of Korea involves $ 1.50 billion and is aimed at providing decent accommodation for more than 70 percent of Ghanaians who cannot afford to buy or build their own houses.
Lets hear what the people of Chorkor, a fishing community along the coastal area of the capital, Accra.

We are very pleased with the President for the affordable housing projects he has started all over the country. For a very long time a good number of Ghanaians have been asking why accommodation has become a problem? Because of the money foreigners are willing to pay landlords, they are quick to eject tenants from their rooms. Every corner you turn, you are likely to see people struggling over little spaces in order to conduct one business or the other. It is a very good thing the President has launched the affordable housing project which would bring relief to the poor. We ask God to give him longer life.” 

Although we are excited about this project which is taking place across the country, we must ask ourselves who are going to be the beneficiaries. There is a section in society who think the poor man do not deserve to live in a nice house and all the comfort that comes with. Every now and then we are being asked to take pride in being citizens of this country and yet the policies and measures which are adopted in no way go to enforce this. The gap between the poor and the rich keeps widening every day and no one in a stronger position is interested in closing this gap. We have placed our trust in this President and we would wait to see what he can to achieve after eight years is over.

It was recently that I came to understand that there are many people who pay money to vehicle owners so that they could be allowed to sleep in their vehicles when they park them at night. It is just incredible but it is happening. Parked vehicles full of mosquitoes have now become sources of accommodation. The situation is horrible and I believe anything and everything which can be done to avert the growing problem of many people without accommodation must be addressed with immediate effect because the people of this country have suffered enough.”

I want to call on the people of this country to start reading the history of this country so they can appreciate the monumental developments which are taking place in this country today. Never in the history of our dear nation apart from the times of Kwame Nkrumah has there been such a massive housing project and yet people out of ignorance would come and try and convince us that this project is nothing to write home about. When we gave them our mandate for good eight years all they could do was to make property for themselves and their families. We must be careful and guard against such deceptions else we would end up driving away nationalist leaders who are striving to seek our welfare. They did it to Nkrumah and it must not happen to Mills.”

As you are very much aware there are many Ghanaians who live in pathetic and deplorable conditions when it came to housing. The situation on the campuses across the country is also one which is very frightening. The students have virtually no where to sleep after lectures and this problem must be addressed. The few hostels are charging astronomical fees and the students who come from poor backgrounds are not able to afford them. I hope this housing programme would also concentrate on addressing the plight of the students of the various universities across the country. These are the men and women who would be taking charge of our dear nation and yet this is the kind of treatment we are giving them.”

I want to call on all Ghanaians to support this government because they are taking us to higher grounds. I believe this president also came at the right time. He has had many challenges but he has managed to confront them with patience and wisdom. Every year we complain about basic things that a people need in order that they would be able to take part in economic activity with peace and happiness but unfortunately, none of the governments which we elected was able to implement our the very things they promised us. Professor Mills is making a difference and I want to urge him to remain focused and steady. If he ends up doing things which would create more discomfort for the people them the goodwill he is currently enjoying would soon shrivel into irrelevance. God be with u my brother.”

I do not take this affordable housing project as a surprise because it is for these reasons we elect governments every 4 years. It is our taxes they use in pursuing these programmes but I would congratulate the President because of the vision and the direction he has decided to channel our national resources. Others would have built Presidential monuments and bought private jets whilst the majority of the people have no access to basic amenities like housing and clean water. They have deceived us for long and this is an opportunity for President Mills to make a difference. The unnecessary increases in the price of fuel and other utilities must also be brought to a complete halt because it is killing the already impoverished Ghanaian.”

I support the affordable housing scheme for the fact that the many students who come from the hinterlands or rural areas to study in Accra do not have proper structures to accommodate them whilst they are here and for that matter this project must be applauded. However I need someone to explain to me what they mean when they say the houses are affordable because for me that term is relative.  There are some people who can afford to pay GHC500 a month for the payment of those houses and others cannot, so what exactly do they mean when they say the houses are affordable? Certainly the shoe shine boy who makes a little over GH5 a day cannot afford to buy these houses. All I want to say is that if there is not a deliberate attempt at sheltering the very poor and destitute in society, given the monies involved, they can never dream of owning these houses we are made to believe are affordable. Is the rich and affluent again going to add this to their tall order of wealth? President Mills there are very poor people in this country so please listen to their plight for they have found refuge in you.”