A real estate developer has called for the establishment of land banks to make housing more affordable in Ghana.
The Marketing Manager of Lakeside Estates, Lawrence de Souza, said land banking has the potential to create a favorable economic environment for the country.
Land banking is the process of aggregating lands for future sale. Countries such as the United States, Singapore and Malaysia depend on this innovative scheme to provide housing for the low-to-middle class segment of their population.
Ghana’s housing deficit has seen marginal improvements since 1984, however the housing gap remains a bane to the country, with an estimated 1.7 million deficit which is still growing. Reports by the Ghana Real Estates Developers’ Association (GREDA) indicates that members contribute an average between 40,000 and 60,000 housing units annually.
Mr. de Souza believes the time is ripe for the country to explore the possibility of land banking.
If government is looking at solving housing deficit problem it should be able to do land banking since its benefits are enormous. It would help the country avoid the incidence of ‘land guardism’ and other associated land litigations. If government is able to either through executive instrument or compensating these various stools and families, and the lands are vested in the state, it would make the process easier for all stakeholders.
He admitted that it would be an expensive venture but emphasized that the benefits to be derived far outweigh the costs.
Land expert disagrees
A lands administration officer at the Lands Commission, Kwame Ankapong, advised estate developers to focus on receiving financial incentives in comparison with their appeal for land banks.
Mr. Ankapong said land banking would be too expensive for the government, hinting at the country’s economic demise as a stumbling block. Mr. Ankapong added that the management of such land banks may turn out to be more cumbersome than expected.
“The State Housing Company is currently having issues with some of their estates because some lands that were acquired by the state are yet to be compensated for. The government needs money to acquire lands for land banks and that does not come cheap.”
“Assuming we have the land banks for estate developers, how are the allocation processes going to be? How transparent will the process be?” he rhetorically asked.
“I think real estate developers should focus on other incentives such as tax breaks rather than land banks because this system will still come at a cost.”
Akua Nyame-Mensah, Managing Director of Lamudi Ghana said: “Land banks could be a way of reducing Ghana’s housing crisis. It is up to the experts to develop a policy or a combination of policies that will work best in our current economic environment. Something needs to be done and new policies adopted to help ease this crisis whether or not land banks are the implemented solution.
Author : Fidel Owusu Amoah | Content Manager- Lamudi Ghana