Senior Technical Advisor at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) Dr. Wilfred K Anim-Odame has told Ghanaian investors in the diaspora that they will need to do thorough due diligence before they acquire land in Ghana for investments.
He noted that land litigations are widespread in Ghana especially in the capital city, a situation that requires them to do a search at the Lands Commission before making any payments for the land they acquire.
Dr. Anim-Odame advised that they should not be in haste to acquire land, but first of all, they should ask all the relevant questions about the ownership and the documentation before acquiring the land.
He was speaking during the third and final part of the webinar series for Ghanaians living in the diaspora on the theme: ‘Ghana, An Ideal Destination for Diaspora Investments’ on Friday, September 4.
The event was organized by Bank of Africa in conjunction with Ghana Diaspora Monetary.
Over 500 Ghanaians living in the diaspora took part in the webinar that aimed at attracting investment from Ghanaians living abroad.
Dr. Anim-Odame, who is also a former Executive Secretary at the Lands Commission, said: “We have to appreciate that it is highly capital intensive and also a long term investment. Therefore, whenever you make an attempt to buy a land be mindful.”
He educated the participants on lease agreements with its various tenure; 99 years for residential and up to 50 years for commercial use.
He spoke of the sublease, assignment and tenancy as part of the means of securing land for any project.
He also advised them to ensure renewal clauses are incorporated in the contract agreement to address any future dispute.
“Please you have to tread cautiously, take a break, process your thoughts carefully before you make that decision.”
He added: “You have to do due diligence right from the beginning to the end of the acquisition.”
He said that lands are owned by the state, chiefs and families in Ghana.
He admonished prospective land buyers to be circumspect in dealing with the chiefs and families when they are presented with opportunities to own a land.
He asked them to get at least two witnesses in all their engagements with landowners.
He advised people, especially those in the diaspora, to be careful because they spend little time when they come on vacation or business prospecting.
This he said poses a challenge because they may not be “presented with enough time to do a lot of due diligence,” he emphasized.
“Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into land acquisition, ask questions, call for all copies of the paper on the land. Do a search on the land at the Lands Commission, always seek professional advice from a professional land economist or a lawyer,” he said.
For her part, Nana Akuah Maafo Dosoo, Managing Director, Lightening Bureau, told the diasporans that there are a lot of investment opportunities in Ghana’s real estate sector.
She noted that there is high demand for compound house rooms especially in the big cities hence, the investors can consider putting up such houses for sale or rent.
She revealed that Ghanaians have a taste for large-size master bedrooms and kitchens, a factor she urged the investors to consider when putting up these houses.
“You can decide to invest in compound houses because Ghanaians have a demand for it. This a relevant information to the investors. Ghanaians like big kitchens, Ghanaians like big master bedrooms and so if you build and the kitchen is not sizable there is a problem.
She also encouraged investors to consider an investment in commercial properties like offices, stores, car parks, warehouses, recreational centres, short-stay apartments etc, this she said was in high demand in Ghana. A key consideration to look out for is pricing, accessibility, aesthetics etc. she said.
Nana Akuah Maafo Dosoo, asked those interested in real estate to be mindful of their engagement with the relevant regulatory agencies to avoid any delays in their projects, she again advised them to consider a detailed business plan, architectural drawings before the commencement of any project.
The diasporans were told to engage the services of a professional facilities and state management organization. This will ensure that their properties and invested is well managed at all times. They were asked to ensure the provision of basic amenities like electricity, water, good roads, internet connectivity, security is available in the areas they desire to put up their projects.
“Location is critical to real estate. Depending on the location your returns is likely to be affected.”
Highlighting some of the challenges facing the real estate sector, Ms Maafo Dosoo said access to funds for such projects is one of the challenges facing the sector. “Funding is very expensive in Ghana, infrastructure is very expensive, “she said.
In his concluding remarks, the Managing Director of Bank of Africa, Kobby Andah was very appreciative of the engagement and collaboration with GADIA. “The programme has been successful and I thank you all for making time to participate in the series of webinars”, he said.
He pledged the banks support in making sure that their investment in the Ghanaian economy will yield the needed and expected returns through the banks advisory services and product support for their investments.