GOVERNMENT WILL SOLVE FLOOD SITUATION – MINISTER

The Minister of Works and Housing, Honorable Samuel Atta Akyea, has assured Ghanaians of Government’s commitment to solve the perennial flooding in the country.

 He said, government is considering raising bonds or putting in place a serious financial plan to repair broken bridges among other defective structural works to curb the recurrent flooding in the country.

According to him, the flooding situation in Kumasi, Accra and other places is a big challenge that needs good financial plan and adequate funds to tackle the situation once and for all, just as bonds are raised for equally important projects.

The Honorable Minister was addressing the media in Kumasi after a tour of some flood prone areas such as Sepe, Boukrom, Asabi, Esreso and Moshie Zongo, among others in Kumasi and its environs in the Ashanti Region.  

He was accompanied by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Deputy Ministers of Works and Housing, the Mayor of Kumasi, Members of Parliament in the area, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Director of Hydrological Services Department, the National Disaster and Management Organisation (NADMO) and some other officials.

Honorable Atta Akyea, explained that the Ministries of Works and Housing and Roads and Highways, would need huge capital to as a matter of urgency, fix damaged bridges at strategic locations in and around the Ashanti Regional capital.

He added that, areas where the flood had destroyed bridges and made them unmotorable, have heavy traffic  and therefore cannot wait any longer to be fixed.

The Minister cautioned that politics should not be dragged into measures being put in place to deal with the issues pertaining to natural disasters like floods.

He noted that, the challenge had been a threat to national safety since independence, hence the need for the country to address it ‘technically’ instead of playing politics with it. ‘This is a big challenge to Kumasi, since a lot of structures too are on waterways. It needs technical solutions because it is becoming a norm and we don’t want it that way,’ he added.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Honourable Simon Osei-Mensah, on his part, disclosed that the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and NADMO had already penned down structures to be demolished soon.

The Regional Minister said, technical persons are also on the ground looking out for structures closer to water bodies and obstructing their flow. He cautioned residents in Kumasi and the region at large to be watchful in this rainy season because ‘we can’t cheat nature and we don’t want a repetition of this’.

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GOVERNMENT TO TACKLE FLOODING IN ACCRA

The Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, has assured Ghanaians that the Government will do all it can to end the vicious cycle of rain induced flooding in Accra.

He said to bring an end to this cycle, the President has allocated an amount of GHC 200 million to augment the GHC 17.3 million budget allocation of the Ministry.

In addition, the World Bank has agreed to assist Government to tackle the situation with a commitment of an additional US$ 100 million.

The Honorable Minister had this revelation when he was addressing the media at the conference room of the Ministry after an inspection tour of some flood prone areas and drainages in Accra to assess the state of the facilities ahead of the rainy season.

He said the Government would bring in international civil engineering and construction firms through a competitive bidding process to partner local engineers to implement the flood and drainage management developed plan by the Ministry. He added that details of the contract were being worked out and this would include cost, scope and duration after which it would be sent to Parliament for approval.

Honorable Samuel Atta Akyea who was accompanied by some senior officials of the Ministry; the Hydrological Services Department and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, toured Nima, Adabraka Odawnaa, South Kaneshie, Odaw/Korle Lagoon, Sukura, Kaneshie First Light/Odorkor, Baale and Sakaman drainages.

He said President Akufo-Addo, wants to end the adhoc measures adopted in tackling the country’s drainage problems by constructing underground drains and expressed the hope that the project would be worth pursuing by successive governments.

According to the Minister, as part of the President’s legacy, for Ghana to permanently tackle, the flooding situation in Ghana, which has been in existence since 1959.

Mr. Atta Akyea, further assured citizens that desilting of drains, particularly the Odaw River, would continue, to ensure free flow of rain induced flooding, saying the Ministry is determined to ensure that this permanent arrangement is embarked on with a backdrop of a larger solution.

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GHANA JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION TO BUILD MEDIA VILLAGE FOR JOURNALISTS

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Koans Estate Limited, a leading Real Estate developer to build 100 housing units for journalists across the country.

The move is aimed at improving the living conditions of journalists by providing them with decent accommodation at a reasonable price. The building type consist of two bedroom expandable and three bedroom expandable. While an expandable two-bedroom house will go for GH₵60, 000, a three bedroom expandable house will cost GH₵80,000. The terms of payment are however yet to be agreed on between the GJA and the Koans Estate Limited.

Launching the project at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra, the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Honorable Freda Prempeh, lauded the GJA leadership for its desire to ensure the welfare of its members. She described shelter as a prerequisite in life, for which reason the government attaches so much importance to it, adding that, a process had been initiated by Government to put up 10,000 affordable housing units across the country.

Touching on the housing deficit that is in excess of 1.7 million, she said the government was under extreme pressure to deliver affordable houses to Ghanaians and described the Media Village project as a very good deal, considering the cost of the houses. She stated that the abolition of five (5%) percent real estate tax by the government was a move to give Ghanaians the opportunity to own houses.

The President of the GJA, Mr Roland Affail Monney, said, many skeptics who heard about the project for the first time at the 21st GJA Awards, did not believe it would come through. “In reality, today is the day of action and not perpetration of platitude. We are taking a key step to address one of the critical needs of journalists, which is decent residential accommodation.”

In the context of how expensive similar facilities in certain gated communities were, Mr Monney, spoke about how some journalists in the country were poorly paid to be able to afford the houses in the Media Village, in spite of their reasonable prices.

The Chief Executive Officer of Koans Group of Companies, Mr. Kofi Anokye, said the Koans corporate village is the company’s new approach to meeting the housing needs of middle-class Ghanaians.

He said Koans Media Village, which was the first of its kind in Africa, was the result of the visionary leadership of the GJA President who came knocking on the company’s doors and his team.

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  ENGINEERS URGED TO WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE WORKS – MINISTER

The Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, has urged engineering practitioners in Ghana to work together to bring all classes of engineering practitioners together to improve engineering works in the country.
He said working together will provide the necessary ethical and moral compass to ensure ethical conduct for all those practicing engineering in the country and also ensure a long-term sustainability of engineering projects in the country.
Honorable Atta Akyea was speaking at the 50th Anniversary Conference and 2018 Engineering Week Celebration of the Ghana Institution of Engineering on the theme; “GhIE@50: Introspection and the Impact of Engineering on Ghana’s sustainable development,” in Accra.

He noted that for training to fall in line with the technological changes taking place, Ghana Institution of Engineering should work in close collaboration with the Training Institutions which produce engineering practitioners.
According to him, to keep professional engineers up to date as required by law, relevant professional development programmes needed to be put in place, adding that the improvement will lessen the engagement to foreign craftsmen to undertake some basic works.
The Minister commended the Institution’s effort at developing a new constitution in less than a year after meeting the requirements of the Engineering Council Act which was signed into law a few years ago, saying the legislative instrument will make the Engineering Council Act more functional and that the Ministry is available to provide any support that may be required.
The Minister also added that the decision by GhIE to set up a Council for Disciplinary Actions is in the right direction because it will put engineering practitioners in check so as to desist from any mischievous acts.
He indicated that, His Excellency President Akufo Addo’s government will not reward mediocrity and that anyone who acts unprofessionally will be blacklisted.
The President of GhIE, and Chairperson for the occasion, Ing. Carlien Bou-Chedid, revealed that GhIE has this year, inducted fifty (50) new engineers and also held an excellence award to recognize individuals within the profession who have distinguished themselves.
She added that, the Institute is now in a good position to regulate the profession since it has completed the process to institute a new constitution.
Justice Anin Yeboah, a Supreme Court Judge and Chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, lauded the contributions of the institution to the field of engineering and urged them to do more since their services are very crucial in the development of the country.

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VICE PRESIDENT COMMISSIONS NAVAL BARRACKS

The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, commissioned the newly- constructed Naval Barracks at the Eastern Naval Command, Tema, for the gallant service men and women who have been working tirelessly to secure the peace and safety of the country.
The barracks is the Phase two of the Security Services Housing Project. It is fully gated and made up of 23 blocks comprising a total of 368 apartments. Out of the 23 blocks, 8 blocks are 3-bedroom flats and 15 blocks are 2-bedrooms flats.
The facility also comes with a multi-purpose sports facility and a play ground for personnel and their families. The project was fully financed by the Government of Ghana and constructed by Messrs Amandi Holdings Group at a cost of GH¢ 101.2 million.

Commissioning the facility, Dr. Bawumia said, completion of the project is another step in the overall development and modernization of facilities for the Ghana Armed Forces and also toward improvements in the Ghana Armed Forces’ accommodation, saying it is necessary to ensure that the country has the best of facilities for all security personnel.
He noted that, the completed units could not have come at a better time than now because housing is a basic human need and that the desire for a decent home is every human being’s dream and key to the overall development of any nation, as it impacts directly on the social, health and economic status of citizens.

Dr. Bawumia said, the NPP Government has a master plan which is anchored on government’s overall commitment to improve the living conditions of the security personnel and will soon roll out the National Barracks Regeneration Programme which will seek to invest in the rehabilitation and upgrading of their living quarters across the country.

The Vice President assured the Security Services that the issues of accommodation are topmost on the priority list of the Akufo-Addo Government and that the Government has commenced discussions with Messrs Sinohydro Corporation Limited, for the construction of 40,000 houses and court structures for the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana National Fire Service and the Judicial Service.

He added that, the Government has also made considerable progress with Messrs Amandi Holdings to commence Phase III of the Security Housing Project for the Ghana Police Service.

Touching on the several Housing situation, in the country, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, stated that the Government is working around the clock to reduce the housing deficit currently facing the country which is in excess of 1.7 million units, adding that it is expected to rise to 2 million by 2020 if swift measures are not taken.

According to him, factors which account for the situation include high cost of purchasing or renting a home, litigation over land ownership, high cost of building materials, high labour cost, high cost of finance, and lack of a realistic and reliable mortgage regime in the country. He assured Ghanaians that the Ministry of Works and Housing, is working tirelessly to address the problems bedevilling housing delivery in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Honorable Freda Prempeh, who read a speech on behalf of the sector Minister, said Government’s approach to help Ghanaians meet their aspirations is to adopt a novel way for construction of homes and instituting creative financing schemes geared towards improving overall affordability and access to decent homes for all working Ghanaians and their families in modern communities.

She disclosed that in the medium term, Government would put in place measures to continue work on 342 Government Affordable Housing Units in Koforidua, 200 units in Tamale and 144 Units in Wa, as well as 1500 Units at Saglemi.

The Deputy Minister, added that in the long term, Government would commence the construction of Affordable Housing Units in Bolgatanga, Cape Coast, Ho, Takoradi and Sunyani.

On his part, Honorable Dominic Nitiwul, Minister of Defence, expressed his profound gratitude to both past and present governments, especially the Ministry of Works and Housing, for the completion of the Naval Housing project. He said the project will serve as a relief to the Ghana Navy.

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DEVELOP NEW WAYS OF WIPING OUT HOUSING DEFICIT – MINISTER

The Honorable Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea, has urged Shimizu Corporation of Japan to bring out technological ideas that will help reduce Ghana’s housing deficit within a shortest time frame.
The Minister was speaking at the Shimizu Open Academy Seminar at the Great Hall, University of Ghana in Accra. The seminar, which is the first of its kind in Africa, forms part of corporate social responsibility of Shimizu Institute of Technology, Japan.

According to the Minister, modern era construction of houses should not take a longer time to complete and that a technology that will bring a paradigm shift is imperative for the country’s development.
Honorable Atta Akyea, who expressed hope about the use of modern technology as the panacea for construction of houses within the shortest possible time, asked “what kind of Japanese ideas are you bringing us to wipe out this deficit, what kind of technology do you have that we will not be marking time for three years before we can see a flat in the air.”


The main objectives of the seminar are to transfer technological knowledge to students, engineers and workers in the local construction industry, encourage students to do internships with Shimizu Corporation and also employ graduates from Universities in Ghana.
The representative of Shimizu Corporation’s Dubai Office and also in charge of African Business, Mr. Masami Higuchi, thanked the organizers for giving them the opportunity to conduct Shimizu Open Academy in Ghana.

He noted that Shimizu Corporation is undertaking a number of construction works in Ghana and as part of their corporate social responsibility, chose to transfer their technological knowledge to students and engineers in the construction industry.
Professor Samuel Kwame Offei, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, who was the Chairman of the seminar, also expressed his gratitude to the Corporation for choosing Ghana as the first African country to hold such a productive seminar.

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DEPUTY MINISTER LAUNCHES PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE IN HANDBOOK FOR ARCHITECTS

The Honorable Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Freda Prempeh has launched the maiden Professional Practice Handbook for Architects at the Architects Registration Council (ARC) in Accra.

The handbook is to guide all qualified persons through practical training to registration as Registered Architects under the Architects Act 1969, NLCD 257.
It is also to provide a structured guide for probationer Architects and rules and guiding notes for employers or mentors of probationers among others.
Launching the handbook, the Deputy Minister commended the Council for their work and said the handbook will provide the framework for transitioning from academic qualification to professional qualification and registration as a Registered Architect in Ghana.
She said the training handbook is useful to anyone who is ready to take the necessary steps towards his or her learning and professional growth and that the development of human resource has always been a critical part in the quest for a just and equitable society where the need of the wider society is met.  

According to Honorable Freda Prempeh, Architects play a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the country and that in support of the Council, the Ministry of Works and Housing in 2017, approved the professional fees for built environment consultants, which included architects.
The Deputy Minister, revealed that the Ministry is on course with the processes for the review of the Architects Act 1969, NLCD357, and the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Architects, adding  that the Ministry has facilitated the setting up of committees to allow smooth running of the Council with respect to education and examinations, compliance, registration and disciplinary issues.
The Registrar of ARC, Madam Stella Arthiabah, noted that, the handbook is the first to be published under the Practical Training Scheme and this is expected to provide a structured guide and ready reference material for architecture students, probationers under practical training and professionals in practice alike.
The Chairman for the occasion, Nii Teiko Evans-Anfom, emphasized that, the handbook is critical for the crystallization of ideas, not only for students but employers as well as help bring about  drastic transformation in the lives of students. 

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GHANA PROPERTY AWARDS HELD

The Property Express Group, in collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Housing has held the 2017 Property Awards at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra.
The awards, which was on the theme, ‘Exploiting Data to bond Bricks and Mortar Trading, marked the 10th Anniversary of the event and brought together scores of people, especially from the built industry.
Addressing the gathering, Honorable Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Honorable Freda Prempeh, said the government would use an appropriate mix of public policy and public private investments to deliver quality, affordable social housing and private solutions that meet the needs and financial capacity of the ordinary Ghanaian.

According to her, the Ministry would work with identifiable groups and associations to facilitate the construction of homes for their members through the provision of the appropriate financing guarantees.
She reiterated the government’s commitment to promote and develop the use of local building materials in the construction of buildings as well as facilitate the development of an active mortgage market to expand mortgage loans to Ghanaians.

The Deputy Minister therefore, called on the players in the real estate industry to do more in helping to achieve lower costs of construction through designs which use durable alternative local materials.

Touching on the Real Estate Agency Bill, Honorable Freda Prempeh, said the Ministry would be re-submitting the reviewed Bill to cabinet for approval and later to Parliament for consideration. and passage into laws.

She explained that the Bill when passed into law would go a long way to help regulate real estate brokerage practice and practitioners, real estate transactions as well as prevent the use of real estate transactions for social vices.

She said the Bill would also provide for the training and licensing of estate brokers and require estate brokers to provide bonds as guarantees to operators in the property market.

The Chairman of the ceremony, Mt. Kofi Anokye, appealed to the Government to pay particular attention to the construction industry since it had the tendency to employ people and reduce the unemployment situation in the country.

Some of the real estate developers who took home awards included, Adom City Estate and Company Limited, who won the Best Residential Developers 2017, for the lower income category; CPL Developers Limited, won the Best Residential Developers for the middle income category, while Mayfair Estate Limited, emerged winner of the Best Residential Developer for the upper income category.

Also, Broll Ghana Limited, won the Best Property Management Company of the year; Berock Ventures Limited, won the Best Commercial High Rise Developer, while Emerald Properties, won the Best Development Marketing Company.

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INDUCTION OF NEW ARCHITECTS

The Architects Registration Council of Ghana (ARC), held its 17th induction ceremony where for 42 newly qualified Architects at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences were inducted.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Architecture the Critical Tool for Development’, the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Hon. Eugene Boakye Antwi, said architecture plays a significant role in the socio-economic development of every nation, particularly the provision of safe, functional, attractive and state-of-art settlements to enhance livelihoods and boost productivity in the workplace.

He noted that, architecture is a noble profession that deservedly enjoys a high standing in society and within the building and construction industry and therefore, much is expected of architects to collaborate with their colleagues in the built environment, to ensure sustained work,for the benefit of all.

He called on the inductees to adhere to the professional ethics and code of conduct since their work has trans-generational implications and when it is shoddy, the cost is huge over a long period of time.

The Hon. Deputy Minister, stated that, despite the fact that Ghana is celebrating 60 years of nation-hood, it is confronted with a huge housing deficit estimated to be in excess of 1.7 million housing units as well as other physical infrastructural challenges.

Hon. Antwi said most of the housing Units available are not within the reach of the ordinary Ghanaian and that the cost could be attributed to the type of designs and materials used for the construction.

He, therefore, urged the young professionals to take advantage of the digital age and produce housing designs to bring meaning to the affordable housing concept, using local building materials and sustainable designs that are energy efficient compiled with rain water harvesting facilities to ensure constant supply of water for both domestic and industrial purposes.

According to him, the Government’s flagship policy of ‘One District One Factory’ has started in earnest and it is expected of the newly inducted architects to be engaged in the provision of professional advice in the production of building materials such as bricks, ceramic and porcelain tiles and other sanitary appliances.

The Registrar of ARC, Arc. Stella Arthiabah, said the Council is committed to securing high quality professional education and practices for architects in the country as well as equipping them with requisite skills to provide avant-garde services to clients, ensuring that the architectural profession maintains its integrity to develop and grow businesses of practitioners.
Established by the Government of Ghana through the Architects Act 1969 (NLCD 357), ARC regulates the practice of architecture in the country towards achieving social protection for the general Ghanaian public and upholding the integrity of the profession in the light of its distinct role in national development.

The Council is overseen by 10-member Governing Board made up of representations from both government and private stakeholder Institutions such as Ghana Institute of Architects, Ministry of Works and Housing, Tertiary Institution Training Architects, Principal from the Attorney General’s Department, Ghana Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Registrar of the Architects Registration Council (ARC). 

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WORLD HABITAT DAY MARKED

The Ministry of Works and Housing in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development commemorated the 2017 World Habitat Day on the theme, ‘Housing Policies; Affordable Homes’, in Accra.
The World Habitat Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday of October every year, was instituted by the United Nations (UN) in 1985 to reflect on the state of cities and towns and the basic rights of all to adequate housing.
The UN also designated the month of October as “Urban October”, to commemorate key urban activities across the world and to create awareness among policy makers, citizens and stakeholders about the opportunities of urbanization.

Over one billion people, constituting one sixth of the world’s population, live in deplorable conditions in dilapidated slums and shanty-towns. By 2030, that number is expected to increase to 2 billion.
Addressing a press conference to mark the day, Honorable Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister of Works and Housing expressed the Government’s commitment to addressing the housing deficit in the country through partnership with the private sector in the provision of affordable housing units.
He said the Ministry is currently implementing Affordable Housing Programme aimed at providing adequate and decent housing, particularly to the low and middle-income groups.

 

MINISTER VISITS AGENCIES

The Minister for Works and Housing, Honorable Samuel Atta Akyea on the 24th of August paid a visit to agencies under the Ministry to acquaint himself with their operations and activities.
The Minister and his entourage visited agencies which include the Engineering Council, Architects Registration Council and Hydrological Services Department.


In his interaction with staff, he urged the agencies to remain resolute, put up their best and do what they could in order to ensure that work goes on smoothly. He assured them of government’s commitment and determination to provide solutions for challenges they face at work to enable staff deliver well.

He urged the Engineering Council to scale up the registration of practitioners in order to address any challenge in the engineering sector since the profession plays a key role in the socio-economic development of the country.

In his address to the media, he urged local contractors and engineers to strive for the highest level of competence so that their work would be appreciated. He explained that by the rules of fairness, award of contracts were always based solely on merit or quality of work and not whether a person was a citizen or not. Honourable Atta Akyea observed that although there were very good local contractors and engineers, there were others that lacked the expertise to perform excellently that ought to be looked at so that the issue could be addressed.

According to the Minister, one measure that could help to ensure that these professionals improve to match the world class standards was for them to come up with superintending bodies that would ensure that the right standards were set and adhered to.
He also disclosed that government would now give contractors building materials instead of money to complete housing projects that have stalled across the country. In line with this, effort

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