Even before Parliament sits to decide whether to approve a $200million loan facility by government for the construction of 4,120 ‘affordable houses,’ issues are being raised about the genuineness of the deal.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, led by President John Dramani Mahama was contracting the loan to enable Italconstruct, a Nigeria-based company, to build houses for Ghanaians at an average cost of GH¢97,089 ($48,543.69 at the current rate of almost GH¢2 to the dollar) per a house.
However, a group of young professionals who have constituted themselves into an advocate group, Youth Against Corruption (YAC) believed there was more to the deal than merely met the eye and soothed the ears.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, convenor of the group, Nana Kofi Damoah said, “We think this deal is extremely questionable and raises the public perception of corruption, that it is an attempt by the President and some government officials to short-change the country.”
Much as they considered the deal significant in view of the fact that it was one of the first major loans President John Dramani Mahama was contracting after taking over as head of state, the YAC said: “Our checks indicate that this deal is far worse than the STX deal, in terms of value for money and is an affront to transparency and accountability.”
Apart from contending the ‘affordability’ tag placed on the yet to be constructed buildings, he indicated that the deal was not prudent in terms of value for money, since, according to its convener, it cost the same Italconstruct Company, as published on their website, an amount of $27,100 to build a two bedroom house which included land and other utility infrastructure. For him, it thus raised eyebrows that the same company which was set to receive waivers and free land would offer to undertake the project at a price that has been inflated by $21,443.69 or 80% of the original plus taxes and land cost price.
“Clearly, this deal is certainly not in the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian for whom such houses are to be made affordable. In total, this deal is alleged to have been bloated by over $88,348,000; money that can be used to build 1,178 brand new six-unit-classroom blocks with ancillary facilities,” he noted.
In view of the President’s call for real estate developers to reduce ‘their high rates’ on August, 23, 2012, leadership of the YAC wondered why he would approve a deal in which what he called high rates have now been increased by a further 80%.
“This calls into question his personal integrity, principles and convictions,” Nana Kofi Damoah noted whilst charging the Government led by John Mahama to explain to Ghanaians why in their view, this deal was in the interest of Ghanaians.
The deal was similar to the infamous $1.5billion STX Korean housing deal which turned out to be a fiasco. It was engineered and pushed by President Mahama who was then Vice President.
It was alleged that the deal was bloated by over $800million, with the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) providing evidence of this when they proposed to deliver the same houses at less than half the price.
Source: Charles Takyi-Boadu/D-Guide
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