GREDA Jabs ET Mensah

The Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) has come down strongly on the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, registering its reservations about the minister, Hon E.T Mensah’s referral to the body as “liars” and mischief creators. “We consider this development unfortunate,” said Dr. Alexander Tweneboa, GREDA President, at a press conference in Accra on Monday to “set the records straight”. GREDA said the Mills government had deliberately ignored its overtures to put itself at the service of the country. The face-off between GREDA and the ministry of housing stems from the association’s reservations about not being considered in Ghana’s affordable housing projects which have always gone to foreign companies. The first of such massive housing project was the STX Korean project which crashed due to the inability of the partners to raise the requisite financing for the project. A few weeks ago, the Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, announced the short-listing of a South African Company- the GUMA Group- to construct 500 housing units for the security services. Hon. E. T. Mensah criticized GREDA for suggesting that Ghanaian entities should have been given preference for the project, especially after a venture involving a foreign entity collapsed just recently. “GREDA will always welcome anyone, whether Ghanaian or a foreign entity that is ready to alleviate the plight of the average Ghanaian obtaining decent affordable accommodation,” said Dr. Tweneboa at the press conference. According to him, “GREDA’s expression of disappointment was aimed more at the government for its lack of response to the overtures that GREDA has been making towards them in a bid for GREDA to assist the Government in alleviating the current chronic housing shortage”. GREDA has been labeled as a mouthpiece of a certain political interest by some officials in the Mills government, and it has strongly expressed its reservation about this notion. “Firstly, GREDA is not the mouthpiece of any political party as has been intimated. GREDA members are professional businessmen and women committed to delivering houses for all Ghanaians in rather difficult environment and conditions to operate in,” stated Dr. Tweneboa. He added, “All GREDA has ever attempted to do is play its part in the development of our dear nation Ghana.” According to Samuel Amegayibor, secretary to the executive council of GREDA, a delegation from the association met the vice president in October 2009 to discuss the challenges facing the real estate industry. “The Vice President graciously provided us an audience and requested the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to further liaise with GREDA on its proposals for affordable housing,” noted Mr. Amegayibor. Apparently, after the earlier meeting with Vice President John Mahama, GREDA had made other appearances to other government officials. According to GREDA, it submitted an affordable housing proposal in 2010 and this year; however, the proposals were ignored, hence their discontent. Ghana is currently grappling with a serious housing crisis; over 1.5 million houses are in deficit. GREDA said over 80 percent of Ghanaians were not housed properly: many people are housed in single rooms and makeshift apartments. “We are playing with housing to our own detriment,” warned Dr. Tweneboa, adding, “We need a sustainable housing policy and a sustainable plan to reduce the housing plan, and this is what we are talking about.”