Government to Operationalise a National Rent Assistance Scheme

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (centre) in a group photograph with the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye (first right), Chairman of the Council of State and Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II (second right), Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah(first from left), and Akosua Frema Opare, Chief of Staff (second from left) after the launch of the National Rental Assistance Scheme

Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing has launched an initiative to operationalise a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) to make renting accessible for all citizens in the country. The scheme is expected to provide low-interest loans to qualified applicants to enable them to pay their rent in advance.

Launching the scheme in Accra yesterday, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia indicated that government had set aside GH¢30 million as seed money towards the implementation of the scheme.

Dr. Bawumia said, unlike previous policies which are often marred by defaulters, the new Scheme is in collaboration with private investors who wouldn’t want their investments to go down the drain and will use any means possible to retrieve their funds. He added that this process will not only provide accountability but will also eliminate any form of political interference.

He said the scheme would enable Ghanaians with identifiable and regular income to apply, and when approved, the rent would be paid directly to their landlords who would also be required to register with the scheme.

Again, self-employed applicants who qualify based on the eligibility criteria will receive the assistance, while students who satisfy the eligibility criteria and whose parents can guarantee for them will also be supported by the scheme.

“The scheme will target individuals in the formal and the informal sectors with identifiable and regular income,” he said.

According to the Vice President, providing meaningful shelter for Ghanaians had formed a significant part of the development goals of the government.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also disclosed that the government through the Ministry of Works and Housing has submitted a bill to Parliament seeking to replace the current rent law which was passed over five decades ago and has lost its relevance.

“I am happy to inform you that the government has made significant strides as far as the housing sector and renting management are concerned. Government acting through the Ministry of Works and Housing has submitted to Parliament for consideration and passage, a rent bill to replace the existing Rent Act of 1963 Act 220. The current Act was passed by Parliament 59 years ago and therefore its relevance has been outlived by the current population growth, urbanization, housing availability, and general trends.”

Recounting his visit to the offices of the Rent Control Department (RCD) in July 2020, Dr Bawumia said he noted the overall importance of the rental housing market in its quest to increase access to housing options.

He said processes had also begun in earnest and a service provider engaged to digitalise the work of the RCD across the country to enhance its service delivery. That process, he indicated, would provide a consolidated platform for the operations, improve revenue generation and collection for the Department.

He commended the Minister of Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, and his team for working tirelessly to put the framework together and urged them not to renege on their oversight and supervisory responsibilities for the successful implementation of the scheme.

He further called on all well-meaning Ghanaians to support the initiative, saying: “As a government, we remain committed to the successful implementation of the scheme for the benefit of every Ghanaian.”

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Asenso-Boakye, the Minister for Works and Housing said the initial beneficiary regions under the scheme had been selected because data from the RCD indicated that they had a higher rate of rent advance-related issues. He said the objective of the government was to operationalise the scheme across the country.

Mr. Asenso-Boakye expressed gratitude to the Office of the Vice-President for the instrumental role it played towards developing the scheme and gave an assurance that his outfit was committed to addressing the challenges confronting the housing sector in the country.

The Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah and the Chairman of the Council of State and Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, who chaired the launch commended government for the

initiative in the face of the global economic challenges and stressed the need for effective monitoring of the scheme.

According to the scheme, a Ghanaian adult 18 years and above with a valid Ghana Card, verifiable employment and earned income, verifiable bank statement or mobile money statement and rent payable not exceeding 30 percent of household income is qualified to apply.


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