The government policy which requires a 60 percent minimum use of local building materials (LBMs) in building and construction by 2015 can be achieved if government empowers local manufacturers to produce, Akosua Obeng — Architect at Orthner Orthner & Associate, has said.
“The target is achievable but some steps have to be taken. First, we have to develop the local manufacturing base for local materials,” she said.
She added that in order to get the private sector players involved, government must provide incentives to developers and through tax exemptions on locally sourced materials for building as well.
Speaking at a roundtable event on sustainable real -estate organised in Accra by Lamudi — an online real-estate marketplace — Mrs. Obeng added that currently most developers use only between 15 to 30 percent local material, which includes the sand, aggregate, cement and timber to build in the country.
“After the structure is finished, everything else is imported. All the finishing is imported. Now is the time to push for local content in construction because we are experiencing a construction boom.
“There is a demand for construction items. Now is the time to meet that demand by setting up our own building materials manufacturing companies. The demand is here, and all we need is the factories to feed the demand.”
Ghana has one of the most promising prospects in terms of housing development. The country’s real-estate contribution to GDP is about 4.4 percent. Despite this relatively modest figure, the country has come a long way from the days when the industry registered merely 0.2percent of GDP.
But at the same time, Ghana currently has a social housing problem with a deficit of 1.7 million units. Abena Nyame-Mensah, Managing Director of Lamudi Ghana, said that Lamudi is greatly concerned with improving the real-estate industry in the country — hence putting together the roundtable on sustainable real-estate.
“Lamudi is not only focused on bringing transparency to the sector but is also interested in ensuring that all stakeholders involved in the real-estate industry have an opportunity to network and exchange ideas to ensure the industry is sustainable.
“Sustainability does not only refer to the materials and systems that are built into a property based on the current state of our environment and energy sector, but also the manner in which they are built in relation to high demand,” she said.
Other members of the panel included Kwame Ankapong, a Land and Property Investment Consultant; Brandon Rogers, Design/Build Consultant; and Narenth Tetteh, Sales Manager and Co?owner, Homes and More Ghana, a real-estate brokerage firm.
The roundtable also marked the first anniversary of Lamudi, which was launched in October 2013. The property website, focusing on the emerging markets, grew by 116 percent between April and September this year.
The number of listings on the website now totals more than 670,000 properties to buy or rent, spread across 28 countries around the world. It has over 6,000 listings in Ghana alone and continues to grow at a rapid rate. During that period, Lamudi Ghana hit 5,000 listings by August and has helped connect hundreds of house-hunters in the country.
Globally, Lamudi launched both Android and iOS apps during 2014, which have been downloaded close to 100,000 times since June.