The annual Conference for Housing Excellence, a platform for policy makers, industry players and other key holders to brainstorm on matters relating to housing, is underway in Accra.

 

The conference, the 4th in a series, is being organized by the Ghana Institute of Housing (GIH) on the theme ‘Ghana Must Build Again, using coherent strategies for a sustainable housing delivery.’

Highlights of the three-day conference include panel discussions on locally-acceptable definition of affordable housing, guided by international standards; a housing pact citation to appreciate all professionals to continue to make a case for the housing sector; graduation of  GIH Training Centre learners; and the launch of KNUST College of Architecture and Planning Centre of Excellence for post-Graduate Housing programmes.

Delivering the key note address at the opening of the conference, yesterday, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH), underscored the importance of regulation in the provision of safe, adequate, and decent buildings for all Ghanaians.

Alhaji Dauda said one important step taken by government in the regulation of the building industry was the formulation of a Housing Policy which was currently awaiting Cabinet approval, hopefully before the end of the year.

He said the policy had detailed initiatives in respect of improved access to land and the use of local building materials.

In addition, he said, the policy recommended the establishment of a National Housing Fund to be designated for affordable mortgages, slum upgrading and support for small scale local building material producers.

Furthermore, according to the WRWH Minister, the policy had also recommended the establishment of a National Housing Authority to operationalize government’s policy through strategies and programmes to be implemented by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and other stakeholders.

Alhaji Dauda announced that the Draft Ghana Building Code, which was put together by the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI) in 1988, had been reviewed by the MWRWH and its stakeholders for adoption.

He said the Ministry was also working for the drafting of a bill on Condominium Properties, in view of the increasing demand for the development of high-rise properties.

He said a bill for the Establishment of a Real Estate Authority had also been approved by Cabinet.

The bill, Alhaji Dauda said, provided for the training and licensing of estate brokers and required them to provide bonds as guarantees to operators in the property market.

He explained that the Real Estate Authority, if established, would regulate real estate brokerage practice, brokerage practitioners and real estate transactions including the sale, purchase, rental and leasing of real estate and related fixed assets, and prevent the use of real estate transactions for the purpose of money laundering and other vices.

Welcoming participants, Mrs Helen Ankrah, Managing Director of ASH Limited, Founder of the Conference for Housing Excellence and Head of GIH, urged all stakeholders to help identify practical steps for overcoming the challenges facing the housing industry.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)