One of the major socio-economic challenges facing the mass of our people is the payment of rent. This was recognized by President Akufo-Addo as far back as 2008 where he laid down some of his vision to help mitigate the plight of our compatriots during an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana) event dubbed an “EVENING ENCOUNTER”. He suggested that “we cannot be a modern society when so many of our citizens are not adequately housed and urban dwellers pay rents with advances that make it difficult for young people to start life independent of their parents”.
Our young folks who are seeking to start a life of their own are firstly confronted with exorbitant rent charges with over a year advance payment. It is trite knowledge that those who are already working either in the formal or informal sectors are said to be working for their landlords. This is because whatever money they make finds its way back to either their landlords or financial houses who advance loans to them with neck-breaking interest rates. Rent issues in Ghana is not a respecter of class – the low-middle and sometimes upper-income earners are all faced with rent-nightmares.
Can you envisage the level of relief all these persons will get if their government decides to put in measures to cushion such a perennial challenge?
Fortunately, the good news is here!
The next NPP government under President Akufo-Addo promises to establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) in partnership with the private sector to provide very low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them to pay for their rent in advance. It does not matter whether you are a banker, barber, trader, public servant, driver, farmer, etc in so far as you have a regular flow of income.
There is no need to worry about the reliability and continuity of this policy. The government shall allocate seed money of GHC100million for this program. The payment of the loans that will be advanced to people will be monthly and shall be insured to ensure that no funds are lost in order to sustain the scheme. The funds for the rent shall be paid directly into the bank accounts of registered landlords to ensure that no funds are diverted for other purposes.
Also, a new Rent Control Act which is presently before the cabinet for a review will be completed and rolled-out with vigor. It will address amongst others the seemingly everyday challenges of both the tenant and landlord. The Rent Control institution will also be strengthened to meet modern-day standards and regulatory practices.
This is indeed a firm-step into mitigating the issues surrounding housing rental in Ghana.