It’s a common practice to find Ghanaians living abroad sending money to relatives or trusted persons for the construction of their homes in Ghana. In most instances, they come back to Ghana heartbroken upon their return because, these trusted relatives hardly meet their expectations. This was the story of Ato and his uncle, Basa.
This video recommends appropriate measures to take in involving the services of contractors for building projects in Ghana. We hope the video serves its purpose!
Your thoughts and suggestions on this would be appreciated.
Video directed by Evans Dzidzienyo (evaphilz comedy)
Video: Dylen Sam-Andoh
Starring Mikel Odins, Kofi Hagan and Jeffery Selawoka
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Land ownership has become a necessity for the average Ghanaian. For an intended ownership of land, there should be a party(ies) willing to transfer his/her/their interest and another party willing to pay for the bundle of rights (interest) inherent in that property and that transfer could be either be a lease, assignment, sublease, conveyance or even a mortgage.
Narrowing the transfer of interests to Assignment and Sublease, a basic distinction should be made while sublessees and assignees are made to know the effects of their investments beforehand.
“Assignment” connotes that the assignor (seller) has relinquished his/her interest in a property or what is termed as “outright sale”. The assignee (buyer) is on his own and can carry out any transaction on the land without permission from the assignor, save the allodial title holder who can be a stool, skin or government.
Sublease on the other hand, connotes that though the land has practically been sold, the sublessor (seller) still holds onto the land and that the sublesee (buyer) is absorbed under his lease. The sublessee therefore needs the permission of the sublessor to carry out any transactions on the land.
Recent trend in purpose-built residential apartments or townhouses is that many developers here in Ghana resort more to the sublease type of transfer agreement and a few developers actually outrightly sell out their apartments. The sublease usually spans to the expiration of the lease.
What this means is that the reversionary interest upon the expiration of the sublease still rest in the developers. Though the sublease spans to the expiration of the lease as indicated earlier, the developers will eventually opt for a surrender and renewal or renewal of the lease to accommodate the reversionary interest upon the expiration of the original lease between parties. This is an intriguing business strategy as it seeks to rake in cash to the developers since their clients may be open to a new negotiation for a fresh lease or a resale to other clients.
Where developers assign their interest in these apartments, the assignees (clients) become owners exclusively and are responsible for any further negotiations and transaction on their property.
Sublease and Assignment carry different obligations on the new owner hence, the onus lies on each party to be strict with their demands as to the nature of transfer and other covenants in the contractual agreement to avoid future complications.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owusu-Nimoh is an Editor at Saasepedia, a Real Estate Enthusiast and a Lover of Poetry.
When we look at our cities today, we can clearly see the interplay of interests contesting for power, positions and influence in shaping it. Aside governments, real estate developers, slum dwellers, and others are carving out the design of our cities. The physical manifestation of these big forces is what has created the language of our cities.
Months ago, I was taking a stroll in our capital (Accra). I saw different billboards of developers showcasing their products. To satisfy my curiosity, I tried to deconstruct some of the terminologies used on the billboards, as baits to get customers. I know you are now equally abreast with terms like the following: Green space, 1000 trees, cooler homes – and many more.
While the ‘sales literature’ tries to promise “a rare harmonious mix of privacy and community, nature and culture, tranquility and excitement”, why would anyone destroy a lot of vegetation, and later use this ‘vegetation’ as a selling code?
Upon studying in China, I observe the similar marketing gimmicks at play. This time, I felt the disconnect symbiotic relationship between nature and civilization in urban areas.
It would be wrong to undermine the effect of slums in our country. However, it is important to look closely at how current developers (private and government) are commodifying fresh air, trees and serene environment as a luxury goods!
When I walk done memory lane to the time of my childhood, I can say pure air, trees and serene environment was never something hard to come by. We lived with them! But, now, all these have been replaced with bricks and blocks. We have seen it with gated communities, high-rise building, studios, and apartments.
For how long are state agencies going to issue permits to developers to cut down our vegetation all in the name of development? Few years back, Ghanaians fought the proposed ecotourism project that targeted the Achimota forest. The said forest has for so many years helped curb runoff during rains, and given the communities around oxygen and health. The project was only abandoned after it came into the media, and received the bashing of well-meaning Ghanaians. The case of the Achimota Forest and now the Atewa Forest for mining is one and same: the greed of a few to make money at the expense of environmental considerations. The Atewa forest is in the deals with a mining proposal estimated to scoop 150 million tonnes of bauxite. It faces a lot of backlash from different stakeholders.
But the major concern is one that is inclined to wanton destruction of small vegetations every day in the name of development. And in return, the same vegetation which mostly are artificial are used as a unique selling point to us!
We are not blind to the benefits we get from real estate development such as broad internal roads, walkable streets with footpaths, 24/7 utilities supply, public spaces, multi-level security and conveniences like shopping, entertainment, hospitals and schools. Whiles majority of these are projects are well-thought through, the concern about the projects are that they are orchestrated for benefit of few elitists without regards for its repercussions on the environment.
All over the world today, climate change is a burning issue today. If we want to combat climate change, we have to hold all stakeholders accountable. It should not be limited to the end product of most manufacturing industries (with regards to plastic waste) but also unwarranted developments that threaten our urban decency, vegetative cover, and our social fabric. If most of our developments are well negotiated, we could solve slum developments in the long run.
For us to thrive in sustainability and combat climate changes, we have to change our behavior, systems and laws.
Accra has tried not to be immune to floods. Every year, at the onset of the rains, even the slightest of rainfall, the capital city of Ghana floods. They shame us. They portray how we have not prioritized planning, let alone care about the safety of the people.
Even more painful is the spectre of politicians and leaders who have failed, keep failing, and will fail, taunt-tour areas floods have chocked, killed, destroyed and wiped out livelihood and bonds. After the cameras are shut and their content shown, nothing gets down!
On 3rd June, 2015, a painful tragedy occurred. It was a twin disaster (flood and fire). In that disaster, 152 lives were burnt due to an explosion at a fuel filling station. This misfortune followed an unprecedented downpour in Accra, Ghana’s capital. Macabre images of the incidence linger in the mind of many – families, friends, citizens and the international community. For the immediate families, it is a personal scar etched in their hearts forever.
Many questions were raised in the aftermath of the tragedy. Many promises and assurance came along too. In truth, with regards to Accra’s perennial floods, some actions have been taken, although little and slow. Yet, many other proposals are pending till today. Many areas of the city are waiting on the government for a pragmatic approach to tackle the root cause of devastating floods.
Almost always, the solutions to problems are deemed to be government’s sole responsibility. This way of thinking is not in line with participatory democratic practices. Citizens, more than ever, are also responsible in finding long lasting solution to this problem.
In 2012, $595 USD million was advanced to the government as a loan by U.S EXIM Bank for a project in Accra dubbed ‘Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Drainage’. To date, there has not been any tangible outcome from this project. There is really no effective means of grappling with the flood in the city and every year, the situation gets worse.
Currently, the World Bank is providing the Government full funding to tackle the flood situations in Accra. This time, the project has been dubbed ‘Greater Accra Resilient Project’ (GARI Project). The first phase which will cost $200 US million will tackle the engineering challenges and poor drainage systems. While this initiative sounds good, implementation remains to be seen. Governments in Africa are quick to announce exciting policies and programmes yet show little results as far as implementation is concern.
The observation above is right because for decades, there has been a lot of infrastructure development ranging from roads to buildings. These projects have given Accra a facelift. Nevertheless, rapid urbanisation, coupled with other socio-economic factors, requires much investment in infrastructure. According to World Population Review, 2.27 million people are living in Accra with approximately 56% of the population under the age of 24. This gives an accurate picture of the quest for opportunities in the city by youth. Housing condition of the urban poor in the city is a problem with evidence of settlements dotted on waterways. Some of their settlements are usually seen in areas prone to flood. A typical example are settlements along the Odaw- Korle drainage basin. Thus, in the final analysis, settlers in these low-lying, poverty-stricken areas become vulnerable to flood.
It appears simple to assert that the solution partly lies in relocating these settlers. It is also about pulling down structures in waterways in plush residential communities. The political will to do what is simple and required, sadly, is and has always been lacking.
The impunity ends up as a cycle and systemic. Accra has lost most of its green belt to encroachment from both citizens and developers. Over time, encroachment of vegetative covers has led to rise in slums. Poor planning and siting of structures in Accra fuels an already precarious problem. For example, the green belt in East legon has seen massive development without permission from Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA). These are all contributing factors to the floods problem which affect our city and her development. The government must enforce the laws on vegetative covers.
Unfortunately, sanitation is a big issue in the city. Citizens’ attitudes towards waste is appalling and disheartening. There has been conscious effort by the government agencies to provide facilities for citizen in order to ensure proper disposal of waste and achieve environmental sustainability. Citizens settling along the water course dumb waste in the drainage. The effects of this attitude are seen during flooding. Citizens have a role to play in stopping the cycle.
To be able to effective deal with the problem, City authorities should avert their minds to the development of drainage systems. It is sad to note that rain, a big resource in other parts of the world, has become our enemy. Everything is possible. Drainage systems are possible too. Modern engineering technology requires management of surface ruff-off that can save rain for agriculture purposes or even address perennial water shortage among low-income areas in Accra. Our city authorities should be progressive and make the most out of rainfalls.
To conclude, recently, I heard the Minster of Housing announce we need US 1.3 bn to solve the city’s flooding problem. If this is far from the decades of talk, then our collective prayer is with him.