By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
The Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, has announced that the government is going to upgrade all the slum communities in the country into world class residential areas, starting with Nima and Maamobi, which are all in the Greater Accra Region.
This in his view is necessary, because there is the need to change the scope of the nation’s landscape, for Nima is closer to the seat of government, Jubilee House, and within the central business district in Accra.
According to the Minister, the government was going to demolish and develop “executive flats” in these areas in phases, and that the residents would occupy them free of charge upon completion.
The flats, he continued, would be “more glamorous than Villagio Apartments near the Tetteh Quashie Interchange in Accra.”
The new apartments, the Minister revealed, would compensate for the properties (the land and structures) that they (residents) have released to the developer, and that it would cancel out the cost, and government too would have the benefit of the modern structures to be put up in these prime areas.
According to him, the growing rural-urban migration and the limited supply of lands in the capital have played a major role in the rapid growth of slums in the Ghanaian environment.
But the government, he continued, is going to make sure that all deficits within the Housing Ministry are looked at and addressed properly, just as it has been done in the education and health sectors.
“The President’s commitment to slum upgrading of Nima and Maamobi was stated forcefully in his message of the State of The Nation’s Address (SONA 2019). A transformation of approximately 1,039 acres of prime land, which Nima and Maamobi occupy, would give meaning and beauty to the President’s vision of Inner City and Zongo Development.
“To this end, we are collaborating with the ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, Inner City and Zongo Development to make the afore said areas a world class residential enclave close to Jubilee House, the seat of government, without slogging the good people who currently dwell in Nima and Maamobi,” the Minister assured.
According to him, the view point underlined in the redevelopment of these prime areas within Accra is the “renewal of the old rundown neighbourhoods, by demolishing some of these houses that are located on prime lands, and replacing them with modern houses” on the same plot of land, and substantially improving the physical environment virtually below additional infrastructure cost.
Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea said one of the promises the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) made to the security agencies has been fulfilled not long ago by upgrading the current security services’ housing project of the Ghana Navy and the Immigration Service into ultramodern facilities, which were recently commissioned by the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
This, he said, is the first phase and a part of the Sinohydro arrangement, where the government has projected 40,000 housing units for the security agencies, including the Ghana Armed Forces, Police, Fire Service and Immigration Service, as well as the Judicial Service.
He reiterated that this was just the beginning of what the President would do, while many of the housing projects started by the erstwhile John Mahama administration are being continued and completed by this current NPP government.
“The beautiful architectural setup is located at Tema New Town. It is remarkable that it would be the first military barracks of its kind in the realm. And guess what, it was President Mahama who started this project. So if you are Bible-compliant, I want to quote, ‘Paul planted, Apollo watered’. This means, President Mahama started, we commissioned it; President Akufo-Addo is paying the funds,” he said.
Again, he mentioned that the redevelopment of the residential areas is ongoing within Roman Ridge, Airport Residential Area, Labone and Cantonments in the capital city, Accra, and would continue in all regions across the country.
Mr. Atta Akyea also expressed gratitude to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, for apportioning huge portions of lands to the government to erect affordable houses to help solve the housing deficit in the country.