Jan 27, 2011 at 10:15am
STX Housing Project
NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE GROUND BREAKING FOR THE STX HOUSING PROJECT
Today's ground breaking ceremony for the start of work on the STX housing project is most heartwarming and historic given the fact that food, clothing and shelter are necessities of life.
STX otherwise known as the Ghana Housing Project will see the construction of 200 thousand housing units with the initial 30 thousand going to the security services.
Coming at the heels of the Vice President John Dramani Mahama cutting the sod for the start of work on the 100 million dollar 60 kilometre road linking Assin Praso in the Central Region to Asante Bekwai in Ashanti really goes to substantiate the declaration of this year as an action year by President Mills.
Accommodation for the security service is a moral responsibility and government cannot renege on this social responsibility.
It will motivate them to give off their best to ensure peace in the country, after all, peace is a pre-requisite for social-economic development.
The STX project has passed through stormy waters with the opposition dissociating itself from the passage of the legal document.
Despite the stance, government in its quest to go ahead with the project has done enough due diligence on the background of STX Korea, executors of the project.
President Mills has personally involved himself in checking the authenticity of the project.
He is on record to have thoroughly quizzed the chairman of the Company.
A government delegation met with the Korean Business Association in the presence of that country's Prime Minister.
Again the parliamentary select committee on Housing which include minority MPs also visited Korea and Dubai to do background search of STX and were overwhelmed by their expertise, President Mills also called for the withdrawal of the STX bill from parliament when it came to his attention that it was fraught with anomalies.
Now that the project is finally taking off, the expectation is that the accommodation challenge confronting Ghanaians will ease.
It is encouraging that HFC bank which has an enviable track record in housing finance is fully involved in the STX project.
This is a guarantee that no dubious transaction will take place and Ghanaians will have value for money.
Experience from previous housing projects especially the ones tagged low cost are beyond the pockets of the ordinary Ghanaian giving room for the rich to buy only to lease them out.
This makes it imperative for government to establish long term financing schemes at the district levels to finance mortgage schemes that will meet the pocket of low and medium income households.
As it stands now, workers who have not benefited from any of the housing schemes but contribute to SSNIT should be automatically guaranteed accommodation under STX with the social security contributions as collateral.
Government must expedite action on the Borteyman Housing project initiated by the previous government so that some allocations could be made.
Worker organisations like TUC, Ghana Federation of Labour, JUSAG, GNAT and NAGRAT must liaise with STX to start similar schemes for their members.
In Ghana land is not much of a problem.
What is lacking is funding, so with the billions these labour unions collect yearly from their members, it stands to reason these will be invested in viable housing schemes to ensure that they have a place to lay their heads to motivate them to increase productivity.
It is true a similar initiative by the TUC in floating shares from its members to establish the Labour Enterprise Trust,LET project has not benefited workers much, but this should not deter labour from investing in other viable schemes.
With the Single Spine pay policy now in place, it is likely workers pay pack will improve.
We must therefore take the opportunity to invest in long terms mortgage schemes to finance our own housing needs.
The country's Housing deficit is too wide and the gap needs to be closed.
STX is definitely the way out.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.