IN HIS attempt to discredit the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the affordable housing project initiated by the Kufuor administration, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Enoch Teye Mensah has been badly exposed.
Enoch Teye Mensah, popularly known as E. T. Mensah, had told Parliament that not a single house out of the 4,700 affording housing units had been completed by the NPP administration.
Answering a parliamentary question from NPP MP for Oforikrom, Elizabeth Agyeman, Mr Mensah said it was “very regrettable that not even a single unit out of the over 4,700 units was completed after GH¢70 million of public funds had been sunk into the project”.
However, E. T. Mensah’s attempt to spite the Kufuor administration over the affordable housing backfired as the Minority NPP in Parliament used the Ghanaian maxim “book no lie” to refute his claim.
The minority caucus described the minister’s “untruths” as a desperate attempt to cover the failures of the Mills administration, which had abandoned the affordable housing project and had decided to chase the shadows of the STX housing project.
The NPP caught the minister pants down, as the testimony of Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, had earlier indicated that 63 of the houses had been completed by the Kufuor administration awaiting inauguration.
Minority Chief Whip Frederick Opare-Ansah, who is also the MP for Suhum, quoted the 2009 budget in which Dr. Duffuor acknowledged the effort of NPP administration in the affordable housing.
Whilst outlining the programmes and policies of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing in Parliament, Dr. Duffuor said, “Madam Speaker, the ministry continued construction of affordable housing projects, which are at various stages of completion at the following locations: 1,500 flats at Borteyman, Nungua; 1,788 flats at Kpone, Tema; 1,092 flats at Asokore-Mampong, Kumasi; 200 flats at Tamale; 400 flats at Koforidua; and 160 flats at Wa.
“Out of these, 63 blocks of flats (21 blocks each at Borteyman, Kpone and Asokore Mampong) were completed for commissioning.”
Duffuor’s revelations were a slap in the face of E. T. Mensah who recently informed the country’s lawmaking body that “the stage of completion of the housing project as at the time the NDC took office was Bortey-man, 62 percent; Kpone, 55 percent; Asokore Mampong, 61 percent; Koforidua, 25 percent; Tamale 29 percent, and Wa, 7 percent”, adding that not a single house was completed.
He insisted his answers were based on a tour he and his technical men undertook around the project sites.
The minister also added that the previous administration “for some strange reasons” asked the ministry to procure the building materials for the project and supply them directly to contractors.
However, Cecilia Dapaah, NPP MP for Bantama, who is also a former minister of state at the ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, explained that the previous NPP administration took a decision to supply the materials for economic and quality reasons as well as ensuring standardization in the housing project.
Touching on the future of the project, Mr. Mensah explained that the ministry had constituted a housing project committee to evaluate the proposals so far received from the public and recommend the capable ones for implementation.
About 61 contractors out of the total of 388 contractors who were paid advance mobilization, he indicated, “did not move to site at all or did very little work”, adding, “The ministry has initiated actions to get these contractors to refund the monies paid to them.”
His outfit, he indicated, was unable to secure adequate allocation of funds to procure the needed materials for the contractors because the project did not have sustainable funding base.
Mr. Mensah explained that it was initially funded by the previous government with an amount of GH¢40 million, saying, “These funds were not inexhaustible and so when the HIPC funds dried out, an additional GH¢30 million was sourced from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) but it still could not complete the project”.
Source: Awudu Mahama
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