Early this year, the government initiated the rollout of the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) designed to support deserving households in accessing decent rental accommodation and protect them from exploitation and burdensome rent advance payments.
The intervention aimed at providing low-to-middle-income earners with a mechanism for paying low monthly rent, seeks to eliminate the need for rent advance payments, and ultimately enhancing the quality of rental accommodation, especially in urban cities.
At the launch of the scheme in Accra, Vice President H.E Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia stated that the introduction of the scheme, as outlined in the government’s 2020 manifesto, is part of measures to reduce the demand for significant rent advance payments by landlords and improve the creditworthiness of potential tenants in their search for residential rental accommodation.
The Vice President further explained that the scheme will target individuals in both the formal and informal sectors with identifiable and regular income, and the rent advance loans will be directly deposited into landlords’ bank accounts.
The Vice President expressed awareness of the series of engagements between key stakeholders on the operationalization of the scheme and anticipated the relief it would bring to beneficiaries and the people of Ghana.
Rental accommodation constitutes a significant portion of shelter services in the country, especially in urban areas, serving 34.6% of households, with 46% in urban areas and 17.1% in rural areas. Research indicates that only 5% of Ghana’s population can acquire their own homes without assistance, with 60% requiring state-facilitated support to access housing, and 35% needing additional direct support.
With potential beneficiaries requiring the Ghana Card as a prerequisite to access the scheme, the Vice President emphasized that this criterion not only aligns with the call to synchronize all platforms with the National Identification System but also facilitates government efforts to expand revenue through improved Rent Tax collection.
Minister Francis Asenso-Boakye highlighted the urgent need to improve opportunities, especially for youth, to access the minimum standard of decent rental accommodation due to the lack of a mechanism supporting deserving households and protecting them from exploitation. The government committed up to GH ¢30 million for the initial phase of the scheme, covering the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Western, Eastern, and Bono East Regions, which are noted for rent advance payments. The overarching objective is to operationalize the scheme nationwide, offering various rental assistance solutions to improve the rental housing market in Ghana.
It has now emerged that the government spent over Ghc13 million on rent for over a thousand individuals.
This was contained in the highlights of the 2024 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2024 financial year, presented to Parliament on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, by Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance.
“The Ministry commenced the implementation of the National Rental Assistance Scheme in February 2023. The Scheme disbursed GH¢13,785,597.00 to cover the payment of rent advance for 1,105 individuals in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Eastern, Bono East and Western Regions. In 2024, the coverage of the Scheme will be expanded from the current 6 to 10 Regions.”
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana