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We prefer interest-free loans to build our own homes – Teachers to Akufo-Addo

The Vice-President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Jacob Anaba, has said teachers in Ghana prefer being given interest-free loans by the government to build their own houses instead of the government assisting them to own homes through a mortgage scheme.

Speaking at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference and the 90th-anniversary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) held in Kumasi, Ashanti Region on Tuesday, 4 January 2022 on the theme: ‘Surviving as a reliable and vibrant teacher union in the 21st century’, President Akufo-Addo said his government “is committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation”.

“The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental”, he explained, observing: “I’m fully aware the one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes, beyond finance, is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire”.

The president, however, noted that “through a subsidised loan programme, teachers will be provided an opportunity to own homes, houses in desired locations in various parts of the country”.

The Ministry of Education, he added, “is working with the National Service Scheme on this”.

In addition, the president pointed out, the Ministry of Works and Housing “is in discussions with teacher unions, including your own [GNAT], to provide more housing opportunities for teachers”.

He said: “Within the next two years, it is proposed that 10,000 housing units, on affordable terms, will be developed for teachers across the country”.

“This, we all know, is the tip of the iceberg but it is a good beginning”, the president said.

Reacting to the president’s comments, Mr Anaba said: “If you listen carefully to the president, he mentioned mortgage and rental; rental is not what we are looking forward to. We want teachers to own their own and, so, the mortgage, fine, but the cost of paying for the mortgage is so high that most of us are unable to be part of the mortgage system”.

“So, the third aspect which he mentioned, which will be a loan system for teachers, very affordable loan system [is what we prefer] because, the system is such that teachers are able to acquire their own plot of land, they may even have something [already ongoing] but because their salary is so low, they are not able to complete it before the retirement and taking into consideration how we are widely scattered – in every part of Ghana, you can find a teacher but if it comes to the mortgage, they cannot spread the development of the housing system across the country that much for teachers to be able to access – if the interest-free loan is given to teachers, they will be able to build their own houses at places that they have stayed or they wish to have their homes on retirement”, Mr Anaba explained.

“So, we are in support of the third leg, which will be a loan scheme that will be given to teachers to be able to build their own homes in their own comfort zones”, he stressed.

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