Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the very positive contribution by the Hon Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, and I think she has about said it all.
Mr Speaker, recognisably, the deficits in the housing sector is about 1.7 million. Mr Speaker, the housing need of this country, every year, is in the region of one hundred and twenty thousand and one hundred and thirty thousand houses.
We are only able as a country to deliver, every year, between 40 and 50 thousand houses. What it means is that, every year, we are adding on to that stock of deficit, a minimum of seventy thousand (70,000) houses.
So, whereas we are saying that it is 1.7 million, this year into next year, it would be in the region of about 1.8 million. That
is if we go on the track of housing delivery as it is now.
That is why I agree with her, that we must aim to deliver on the average, at least one hundred thousand houses every year. If we are able to do that, it is going to take us a minimum of thirty years to get to ground zero. So, it is a major thing that is confronting us as a nation, that we need to initiate very bold measures.
It is the reason why what the previous Government wanted to do with resort to the XTL vehicle was commendable. And we said that it was a good initiative and that we should get our bearings right, except that people would not listen and then the whole attempt crashed.
Mr Speaker, but as we said then, it was a very useful exercise that the nation was going to embark on if we had done it right at the time.
The Hon Bedzrah and others who have spoken before him, have alluded to the troubles afflicting the industry; land ownership, land administratio , and as a nation, we attempted to review our land administration in the Land Administration Project-LAP.
It took us about twenty years to do this. Uganda came to Ghana and learnt from us. Within three years, they had done their own and yet, it had to take us about twenty years to complete just one project. It tells how serious we are as a nation dealing with the problem that is staring in our face.
Mr Speaker, today, if we walk the streets of Accra, the typical Ghanaian walking the streets of Accra complaining of lack of housing, is not looking for owner-occupy structures; they are
looking for rented accommodation. And yet, every effort as a nation, that we have tried to intervene in housing delivery, is in owner-occupy structures.
I heard my Hon Deputy Minister talk about affordable housing. That system itself relates to owner-occupy structures. And she tells us that today, the average cost of those affordable housing is in the region of about GH¢220, 000. Which typical worker could purchase what we call affordable housing?
Mr Speaker, as I said, we have gotten it wrong as a nation. The typical worker looking for accommodation, wiping the sweat off his forehead and is complaining that he needs housing is looking for rented accommodation and not the owner- occupied structures that we keep investing in and which is not helping us to address the problem.
It is the reason why we suffer the deficit and it is accumulating every year. So, let us get the concept right; what do we want to do? Investing in rental accommodation or owner-occupy structures?
Mr Speaker, other matters relating to the high cost of building materials; we all do know the cost of portland cement in this country. In the industrialised countries, those of them that we are trying to copy, the average cost of a 50- kilogramme bag of cement is in the region of about US$2.00.
What is the cost of cement in Ghana as we speak today? And how do we expect to conquer what problem, what mountain that we have before us when the cost of portland cement is so high?
Mr Speaker, about some sixteen years back, during the days of NDC Mac I.