Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President and Chairman of the Ghana Armed Forces Council, on Monday commissioned a Naval Barracks at the Eastern Naval Base in Tema for the Ghana Navy.
The construction of the GH¢101.2 million (US 39 million) facility began in June 2014, under the Ministry of Works and Housing, and executed by Amandi Holdings Limited.
It is the first major barracks for the Ghana Navy, and it would accommodate 368 personnel and their families.
The barracks is fully gated and its made up of 23 blocks, comprising a total of 368 apartments.
Out of the 23 blocks, eight are three-bedroom flats and the remaining 15 are two-bedroom flats.
The residential facility also comes with a multi-purpose sports facility and a playing ground for personnel and their families.
Vice President Bawumia said the Ghana Navy had been saddled with accommodation problems for a very long time; stating that “it is the only service within the Ghana Armed Forces, which does not have a well-planned Barracks”.
“This unfortunate situation has compelled most naval personnel to stay in rented civilian accommodation scattered all over Accra and Tema, and to compound the situation, this has made it difficult to mobilise personnel at short notice to respond to emergencies thereby negatively affecting operational effectiveness,” he said.
“These completed units could not have come at a better time. Housing is a basic human need and the desire for a home is every human being’s dream,” he added.
He said the provision of housing was key to the overall development of any nation, as it impacts directly on the social, health and economic status of citizens.
He said Government had a master plan, which was anchored on its overall commitment to improving the living conditions of the gallant security personnel.
The Vice President said Government would soon roll out the National Barracks Regeneration Programme to invest in the rehabilitation and upgrading of living quarters across the country.
Alhaji Dr Bawumia said the completion of the maiden Naval Barracks was another step in the overall development and modernisation of facilities for the Ghana Armed Forces and improvements in their accommodation.
He said the modernisation of facilities and the improvement of accommodation in the military barracks contribute in a very positive way to the morale and esprit-de-corps of the security services.
He said the Government was working around the clock to reduce the housing deficit currently facing the country.
“The country’s housing deficit is in excess of 1.7 million units and this is expected to rise to two million by 2020, if swift measures are not taken,” the Vice President said.
“It is also estimated that over 50 million Ghanaians live in sub-standard houses, dilapidated inner city dwellings, uncompleted houses, shops, kiosks and other unsuitable structures.”
He said there was also an undersupply of annual requirements of housing units, that is, while current supply stands at about 35,000 to 40,000 units per annum; and that, the actual need per annum was over 170,000 units.
He said the Ministry of Works and Housing was working tirelessly to address the problems bedevilling housing delivery in the country.
He said the Government had commenced discussions with Messrs Sinohydro Corporation Limited for the construction of 40,000 houses and court structures for the GAF, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana National Fire Service and the Judicial Service.
The Vice President said the Government had also made considerable progress with Amandi Holdings to commence Phase Three of the Security Housing Project for the Ghana Police Service.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral P. Kofi Faidoo expressed gratitude to the Government for providing them with the facility.
“I must say, that it is going to bring significant relief not only to the Ghana Navy as a Service, but also to personnel who will be privileged to occupy the flats,” he said.
Mr Hezi Makmal, Chief Executive of Amandi Holdings, said one of Amandi’s goals was to always find sustainable solutions to the housing problem in the country.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, Deputy Minister of Works and Housing said the Government intends to commence the construction of affordable housing units at Bolgatanga, Cape Coast, Ho, Takoradi and Sunyani.
Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Minister of Defence, urged the occupants of the Naval Barracks to maintain the facility.