The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that a National Mortgage and Housing Initiative, being piloted this year, has the potential to provide GHS1 billion housing fund over the next five years.
As part of the pilot, a GHS40 million fund has been established and five banks have been selected to work with government to deliver cheaper local currency mortgages and housing finance to Ghanaian workers and real estate development firms.
The banks include; Ghana Homes Loans (GHL) Bank, Stanbic Bank, Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) and the National Investment Bank (NIB).
The Finance Minister made this known at the inauguration of an 11 member board of the National Pensions and Regulatory Authority (NPRA) in Accra last Friday.
According to him, government sees the provision of affordable housing as key in providing social equity and anchoring a firmer social contract between citizens and government.
‘’The National Pensions and Regulatory Authority (NPRA) is expected to support this initiative to issue mortgage backed securities as well as long term securities.’’
The NPRA is also expected to ensure that contributors easily use the Tier 2 and 3 funds as equity for the purchase of homes, if needed,’’ he added.
In ensuring that pension funds are managed efficiently to address mortgage, infrastructure and housing delivery needs, the Finance Minister said government is planning reforms that will allow banks to issue securities for pension funds, collective investment schemes and insurance investment portfolios.
An estimated GHS300 billion monthly debt issuances, he said, will be dedicated to address the situation where a significant amount of pension funds are locked up in short term opportunities with banks.
‘’With this reform, we hope to assert that pension funds are medium to long term instruments in nature and require long term instruments,’’ Ofori-Atta said.
He argued the need to start positioning the Pension industry to provide leadership for Ghana, thinking about the good and future of the country.
Ghana’s private pension funds have grown from GHS0.81 billion in 2012 to GHS11 billion at the end of 2017, while that of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) have stood at GHS9 billion for the period.
The Finance Minister said the phenomenal growth in pension assets under private management calls for the NPRA, which is the regulator for pensions, to better regulate SSNIT for it to improve its investment management processes.
The newly inaugurated NPRA Board is chaired by Mr. Paul Simon Koranteng, with members; Hon. Bright Wireko Brobbey, Mr. Hayford Attah Krufi, Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, Dr. Justice Duffu Yankson, Mr. Kwame Ofori-Gyau, Ms. Frederica Illiasu, Mrs. Grace Akrofi, Mr. Joseph Nii Noi Adumuah, Mr. Reynolds Ofosu Tenkorang and Mr Ofotsu Tetteh-Kujorjie.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah