Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Gov't Acts On Sodom & Gomorrah Squatters

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 (Page 3)

RESIDENTS of Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum in Accra are to be relocated to Adjen-Kotoku, near Amasaman in the Ga West District by the first quarter of next year.

The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, who announced this in Accra yesterday, gave the assurance that the necessary social and physical infrastructure would be provided in order not to detach the residents from the source of livelihood.

Speaking at the West Africa High-Level Peer Exchange Conference on Government of Private Sector Lending for Affordable Housing, the Minister said: “Sodom and Gomorrah is certainly not fit for human habitation.”

He emphasized that government’s focus is not only on new housing areas but also on existing slums and informal settlements where the housing environment and conditions needed to be improved.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang explained that the government’s decision to sell over 6,000 state-owned rental low-cost houses in the country to the sitting tenants at affordable prices is to encourage Ghanaians to own their homes and also to raise additional capital to support the government’s affordable housing programme.

Opening the conference, President J.A. Kufuor said that government was providing a radical reform in acquisition and registration of title to land to assure investors of security of their investments.

“As a first measure, government is putting together a land bank which already possesses 50,000 acres throughout the country to support commercial estate developers,” he said.

He blamed weak town and country planning offices for unregistered and poorly laid out urbanization which is rapidly degenerating into slums.

He said that it is critical and urgent that the department concerned is strengthened and empowered to control proper and efficient use of land to guarantee the requisite provision of physical, sanitary and utility infrastructural services.

President Kufuor said that government has identified urban slum upgrading as a priority intervention area to improve lives of the urban poor in line with the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.

No comments: