About 1,500 housing units, built under the Saglemi housing project, near Tsopoli in the Ningo-Prampram District in the Great Accra Region have remained unoccupied, almost two years after the facility had been inaugurated.
During a visit by a Daily Graphic team to the Saglemi housing project site at Saglemi on Friday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 13, 2018, the surroundings of the building were found to have been taken over by weeds.
Security officers at the estate declined the Daily Graphic team entry onto the facility on Friday, March 9, 2018 because of lack of permit from the Ministry of Works and Housing, but drone images captured on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 indicated that the first phase of the project, which was inaugurated by former President John Dramani Mahama on June 15, 2016, was without life.
The fate of the Saglemi housing project, executed at $180 million, is not different from that of other state housing schemes in different parts of the country that have either been abandoned or are being worked on at a snail’s pace.
Examples of such projects include the Borteyman and the Kpone housing projects in the Greater Accra Region, Asokore-Mampong in the Ashanti Region, Koforidua in the Eastern Region, Tamale in the Northern Region and Wa in the Upper West Region, all initiated by the Kufuor administration.
Apart from security personnel monitoring movements around the Saglemi Estate through CCTV cameras and patrols, there was no movement in the estate, built by Construtora OAS Ghana Limited, a Brazilian construction firm, in collaboration with the government of Ghana.
Although from the outside the Saglemi housing project appeared completed, with its tarred roads and painted rows of flats, it was largely a ghost town.
The busy atmosphere that characterised work at the site had disappeared and been replaced with silence and heavy-duty trucks parked at the entrance.
With the first phase, involving the construction of 1,500 units out of the projected 5,000 housing units, completed, the project, described as the most ambitious housing project in West Africa, is yet to open its doors to the public.
The 300-acre 1,502-housing unit facility comprises one- to three-bedroom apartments and townhouses.
Under the project, about 40 per cent of the houses are to be sold at subsidised rates for low-income earners to afford.
The project was expected to be a complete city, with industrial and recreational facilities, schools, shopping malls and other social amenities.
Ghana has a housing deficit of 1.7 million units and the government has been seeking avenues, including partnerships with the private sector, to address the challenge. But it has been a challenge completing such projects, especially whenever there is a change in government.
Efforts to get the Works and Housing Minister, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, to speak to the issue did not yield results because he was said to have travelled outside the country, while some senior officials at the ministry declined to comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, during a tour of the estate in May last year, Mr Atta Akyea expressed satisfaction with the project and gave an assurance that every support would be given to the management of OAS to continue with it
“The OAS will be one of the key companies that will help Ghana address its housing deficit. Work so far is tremendous,” he had said.
The minister pledged that the government would engage OAS in a critical dialogue with the possibility of replicating the Saglemi concept in other parts of the country.