Thursday, July 29, 2010

SSNIT Explains Disposal of Housing Units

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 29, 2010
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it has decided to dispose off all the 782 housing units currently under rent to be able to “safeguard the Trust’s investment in real estate.”

The Trust is also citing “inflationary trend in the country in the past years” as another reason for the disposal of the properties.

As a result, all persons occupying the two-bedroom housing units of SSNIT in any part of the country would have to cough out a staggering GH¢ 25, 000.00 (¢250, 000, 000.00) by November 30, 2010 or forfeit the property, which is less than four months.

It comes at a time when the government is making strenuous efforts to provide decent accommodation to the people and reduce the housing deficit in the country.

CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE has learnt that the SSNIT board has given its approval for the management to compel tenants in those housing units to pay the hefty amount before November 30, 2010.

A notice sighted by this paper headlined, “Notice of offer for sale of SSNIT workers housing unit and review of sale value,” confirms that the decision to sell the houses, which has already been communicated to the occupants.

It was signed by Baffour Akoto on behalf of the Legal Services Manager and copied to the General Manager/IDD and Properties Manager respectively.

The notice cited “inflationary trends and the need to safeguard the trust’s investment in her real estate” as reasons for the decision.

It said, “Please be informed that due to inflationary trend in the country for the past years and the need to safeguard the trust’s investment in real estate, it has become imperative for the existing sale prices of all SSNIT workers housing units in the country to be reviewed.”

Consequently, the notice said that the sale value of the two-bedroom flat allocated to tenants “has been reviewed upwards to GH¢ 25, 000.00 with effect from June 1, 2010.”

“Kindly take further notice that SSNIT has decided not to rent its flats or housing units anymore and has decided to divest or dispose off its interest in the said units or facilities to prospective buyers interested in purchasing same,” it noted.

In an interview with CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE in Accra on Monday, George A. Baafi, Properties Manager of SSNIT said, “This decision has been in the public domain since the 1990s. The Trust gave them ample time and every opportunity to take steps to buy the properties but they refused.”

He said the Trust is getting overwhelmed by the high cost of maintenance of the properties, explaining that “the occupants want the Trust to use contributions from people to re-fix everything including water tanks and dislodge septic tanks and even kitchen sinks.”

Mr. Baafi added, “We cannot hold the properties as long as the tenants are not ready to buy them and we still maintain them at higher cost.”

Eva Amegashie, Head of Public Affairs noted that the “tenants are not prepared to take up responsibility because the property belongs to the government. This is not the first time we are going to sell our properties. The greatest majority has already purchased their properties and we have approached this exercise with a human face.”

Kwasi Adomako of the Properties Department revealed that “SSNIT has succeeded in selling 6386 units. There are only 782 left to be sold. Some of our tenants even gave out the properties to third parties while others use them for purposes close to hotel business but when we get to know we re-possess the facility.”

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