Government to commission audit into STX housing project

Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister, Mr Alban Bagbin, says government intends to carry out a meticulous value for money audit into the STX Housing Project, which is expected to commence soon.

According to Mr Bagbin, the Auditor-General will also have the opportunity to conduct a detailed performance audit into the $1.5 billion project, which will provide 30,000 housing units for the nation’s security services countrywide.

In a statement released in Accra on Monday by the Ministry, Mr Bagbin announced that final arrangements were being made for parties involved in the STX Housing Project to sign the Final Engineering and Procurement document to allow for commencement of work on the project.

“Let me emphasise that ongoing speculations that the STX project will never take-off are baseless and untrue. Indeed, the contractual agreements, which were approved by Ghana’s Parliament, remain binding on the parties,” Mr Bagbin said.

The Ministry said the statement was being made following Mr Bagbin’s return from South Korea, where he addressed the Korea Africa Industry Conference (KOAFIC). He also met officials of STX Korea to discuss “important issues relating to the pending commencement of the STX Housing Project”.

“Let me assure all Ghanaians that in all the deliberations held so far with the Korean counterparts, Ghana’s interests have been adequately protected and the signing ceremony will soon happen,” Mr Bagbin said.

Under the Joint Venture Agreement approved by Parliament, the government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing or, where appropriate, its other designated Minister, shall, as is normal of all government projects, among other things, provide all sites for the housing project free from all encumbrances, claims or disputes of any nature at no cost to STX.

The Ministry would also provide any and all infrastructure necessary for the STX to freely access the sites and successfully execute the housing project, including, but not limited to, water, electricity, telephone, roads, sewerage and drainage, among other things.

Government, Mr Bagbin said, was currently making all efforts to meet all its obligations under the deal in order to ensure the smooth take-off of the project.

The Minister, therefore, called on the public to disregard “wild allegations of impropriety in the conduct of officials and the implementation of the project”.

Mr Bagbin, who also addressed the just-ended Korea Africa Industry Conference (KOAFIC), said: “Given Africa’s vast natural endowments, what the continent needs today is solid and credible partnerships as a critical leverage to pull the teeming populations of young people from the brinks of poverty and despair.”

The Korea Africa Industry Conference is an annual event which invites top officials of several African countries to Korea to deliberate on matters relating to Africa’s industrial resurgence on the world stage.

On his arrival from the weeklong conference, which was held in the Korean capital, Seoul, Mr Bagbin said: “The Korea Africa Industry Conference is a very good example of how African countries should by themselves forge partnerships with natural development allies in order to seamlessly develop to the levels that Korea enjoys today.”

“Because Korea was, until recently, where many African countries are today, African representatives at the conference were unanimous that Korea is indeed one of Africa’s most natural industrial partners in today’s global reality.”

The Minister added: “In our fight to leap frog Africa’s teeming populations from endemic poverty and joblessness to liberating forces of economic growth and stability, this annual conference lights another candle of opportunity, which all developing African countries should take advantage of.”

The Ghana delegation to the conference included representatives from the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Ministry of Justice.

Also present were officials of Home Finance Company and some consultants.

Source: GNA

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