Government backs diasporan housing scheme

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is backing a new housing scheme that will allow Ghanaians in the diaspora to own properties back home.
The new scheme, known as the Diaspora Housing Scheme, is expected to curb the widespread social fraud associated with remitting monies through relatives for construction projects, and will also help expand the country’s economy using expected remittance inflows.
The Director of the Diaspora Affairs Bureau (DAB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Solomon Korbieh, the Deputy Director, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, realising the need to support Ghanaians in the diaspora to own their own houses in the country, has established the DAB to facilitate home ownership, among other things.
“The Ministry is therefore prepared to partner all such initiatives to engage Ghanaians in the diaspora,” Mr Korbieh said.
The Diaspora Housing Scheme, pioneered by the Ghana Home Initiative (GHI), will serve as a bridge between real estate developers and Ghanaians in the diaspora by securing mortgage facilities from GHI’s partner bank, Unibank. The facility is then paid over a period of about 15 years by the homeowner.
To be part of the scheme, Ghanaian citizens living abroad will have to register their interest with GHI by filling out a form on GHI’s website. GHI then peruses the application to ensure the applicant meets the required conditions.
The application and other details are then used to open a bank account at Unibank on behalf of the applicant. The applicant is then required to operate the account for a minimum of six months to raise at least 20 percent of the price of the property they intend to buy from a pool of carefully selected developers.
GHI then liaises with Unibank to provide a mortgage for the selected property, which the applicant is expected to pay over a period of about 15 years.
Mr Dan Botwe, Chairman of GHI, said the scheme “is one of the best mechanisms of home ownership by Ghanaians abroad that we have today. This scheme provides a direct link between the diaspora and developers.”
“It represents an opportunity for diasporans to be sure that the money they send down is used for the purpose for which (it is) sent, in a formalised, disciplined, and independent way for people in the diaspora to own their own houses in Ghana.”
Ekow Dennis, Head of Finance, Unibank, said: “We believe that there is enormous potential in the real estate sector. The Ghana Housing Initiative (GHI) will put an end to those who misappropriate diaspora funds. Whatever GHI will be doing, Unibank is prepared to support the scheme.”

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