The Minority in Parliament has suggested the Ministry of Works and Housing headed by Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, be closed down for nonperformance or renamed Ministry of Demolition.
According to the Minority, the housing sector has not seen any appreciable development since the Akufo-Addo-led administration assumed the reins of government and yet the Ministry is seriously demolition high-end houses to put up a church.
The Minority indicated that though government has borrowed more than GH¢50 billion in the past 22 months, the Works and Housing Ministry has nothing to show for this unprecedented level of borrowing except commissioning of a project by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, which ironically was completed in 2016.
Member of Parliament for Ho West Constituency, the Hon. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, who led the Minority’s charge during yesterday’s debate on the 2019 Budget, argued that the Ministry is a monumental failure and must be discarded because there is no work for them to do.
He noted that sector by sector contribution to GDP as captured in the 2019 budget shows that in 2015, the housing sector grew by 9.5% while in 2016 there was 8.5% growth.
According to him, in 2017 however the sector declined significantly witnessing a growth of only 5.1%, which did not show any appreciable rise in 2018.
He argued that the housing sector has a deficit of 1.7 million and stressed that an economy’s ability to grow and provide jobs depends largely on the ministry in charge of infrastructure, in this case the Ministry of Works and Housing.
He said, “We expected this ministry to be provided with a chunk of the budget to be able to deliver and provide jobs and grow the economy.”
“Unfortunately, this Ministry was stifled of funds in 2017 and 2018 and in the current budget same situation of not giving the ministry enough funds has repeated itself.”
Member for Akan constituency, Hon. Abdul Aziz Muniru, recounted that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo claimed to be in hurry to fix the economy yet nothing was attained in 2017 and 2018 relating to environment and infrastructure.
He argued that almost all the projects that were promised in the 2017 and 2018 budgets were not undertaken and cautioned that if government contentious to refuse to provide resources to the Works and Housing Ministry, nothing would be developed.
The Ministry, he said, should be renamed Demolition Ministry for pulling down very costly buildings in order to put up a cathedral because that is the only achievement it can point to since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power.
Minister for Works and Housing, the Hon. Samuel Ata Akyea, when he took his turn argued that the primary aim of any well meaning government is not to engage in propaganda but rather establishment of sound and healthy economy.
He admitted that indeed Ghana has very serious housing challenge that government funding sources would not be able to support hence the need to bring in private capital.
He argued, however, that every serious government would protect national asset and continue projects of its predecessor to prevent cost overruns, which is why the NPP government is committed to completing the settlement housing projects started by its predecessors.
Hon. Atta Akyea stated that despite the previous NDC administration receiving oil revenues of GH¢6.5 million between 2013 and 2016, the former government bequeathed to the Akufo-Addo government GH¢5.4 billion arrears that could have been used to fund the construction of the needed infrastructure.
President Akufo-Addo, he said, received a dangerously anemic economy despite the fact that Ghana became a net exporter of oil under the Atta-Mills-Mahama administration, and for four years the country exported US$13.4 billion of oil and earned US$3 billion dollars as revenue.
This notwithstanding, the Akufo-Addo government he said, is committed to embarking on an integrated infrastructural development programme across the country that would ensure value for money for Ghana as well as position her as a transportation, energy and logistics hub in the region.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org