The State Housing Corporation (SHC) will without mercy, continue to aggressively recover debts owed to it by individuals and state agencies, Deputy Works and Housing Minister has said.
Freda Prempeh says individuals and agencies using government houses owe the company millions in rent.
According to her, the government will use the military and police to pursue such individuals to recover the amounts.
“When persuasion fails we use force that is where we have gotten to. They [agencies, institutions, and individuals] know themselves. They should just come and pay off otherwise we will pursue them,” she said.
She added that the government agencies owe huge amounts of money to the state, unlike individuals who are being pursued to pay.
SHC was established originally as the Gold Coast housing corporation in 1956 under the Gold Coast Housing Corporation Ordinance 1955 (No.31).
In 1965, the name of the Corporation was changed to the State Housing Corporation (SHC) and mandated to “increase the availability of dwelling houses in Ghana”. The corporation was to carry out this mandate by developing, building and managing public housing estates throughout the country. Until the early ‘70s’ the corporation was a subvented organization acting as the government‘s housing construction arm.
It was not expected to recover market rates for its landholdings nor to pay carrying charges, and partly because of this, SHC was able to provide houses at below market price.
On its part, the government provided funds for roads, piped water services, and electrical power supply which enabled SHC to build housing estates throughout the country.
The cost of the services was, in fact, a subsidy which was not included in the government-controlled prices and rents of the corporation’s houses.
The Member of Parliament for Tano North said the Ministry is currently working with the SWAT unit of the police service, to compel the debtors to honour their obligation towards SHC.
“You know you are supposed to pay a particular amount to the government at the end of every month but some have bluntly refused to pay. Some have not paid for so many months and the situation has become worrying,” she said.
Freda Prempeh fears if the Ministry fails to act now, the debtors will continue to renege on their obligation.
“It is time we set some precedence for people to know that they are supposed to pay,” she added.