he Ministry of Works and Housing is collaborating with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to enhance government’s efforts at providing sustainable solutions to housing challenges facing the country.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, who disclosed this, said it was necessary the ministry which formulates policies for the housing sector worked with the foremost institution of higher learning for the built environment to address challenges in the sector.
He was speaking yesterday at Kumasi during a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Rita Dickson and management of the College of Art and Built Environment.
The meeting was to enable the minister join in the celebration of the university’s 70th anniversary as an alumnus, and find ways to effectively collaborate towards building a robust and sustainable built environment.
“The time has come for the Ministry of Works and Housing and the KNUST to collaborate to impact positively on the lives of Ghanaians.
It would have a great effect on the performance of the ministry in ensuring a drastic reduction in Ghana’s housing deficit,” the minister stated.
Currently, the ministry, he said, was going through series of policy formulation and programmes which was a vital area for collaboration with KNUST, as a research institution.
With an urban population of about 57 per cent and urbanisation rate of 5.8 per cent, MrAsenso-Boakye noted that housing and urbanisation was one of the most critical development issues facing the country.
He said that the high cost of building materials was one of the reasons government had not been able to provide housing at an affordable rate for a significant section of the urban population, adding that most of the building materials used in the country were imported.
The Minister asked the College of Art and Built Environment and the School of Engineering to join the ministry to develop sustainable planning schemes and designs that would maximise spaces as well as construction methods that would lead to the reduction in the cost of construction.
The ministry, he indicated had formulated various bills including a review of the Rent Act of 1963, a requirement for the sector to operate efficiently.
Additionally, he said the ministry was in the process of developing a Condominium Bill to regulate shared and communal spaces in response to increasing demand for the development of high-rise properties towards maximising limited land space.
On her part, Prof. Dickson expressed happiness over the minister’s resolve to collaborate with the university saying; “KNUST believes so much in such partnerships and collaborations.”
She assured the Minister that the university was ever ready to partner with the ministry to find sustainable solutions that would help resolve the housing challenges of Ghanaians.
She further appealed to the minister to assist the university address the housing needs on its campus for both students and the university staff.
“Over 70 per cent of the student population live in accommodation facilities outside the four walls of the university, a situation which creates all sorts of challenges, including security for students,” she indicated.
She appealed to private organisations to partner with the university to provide accommodation for students on campus.
She again, appealed to the ministry to help secure accommodation for the staff of the university as the current structures were not able to house the over 4,000 staff population.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS