As part of efforts to curb the myriad of problems facing the country’s housing sector, Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has announced the provision of low-interest loans for young people to rent affordable homes if the mandate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is renewed.
According to him, this will be done through a new scheme known as the National Rental Assistance scheme.
The scheme which will start off with a seed amount of GH¢100 million from government will be done in partnership with the private sector to raise more capital and relieve a lot of people of the burden of rent.
Speaking at the official launch of the party’s election 2020 manifesto, in Cape Coast, the Vice President said that the move is to help young people who have accommodation problems.
“While we continue to pursue longterm solutions to the development of the housing market, to address, in our second term, the short-to-medium term market failures in the renter-segment of the housing market, we will establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS). In partnership with the private sector, the Scheme will provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them pay rent advance.”
” There are lots of young people who when they finish school, to rent accommodation is a big problem especially because of the demand for rent allowance which is sometimes up to two years demand. But someone who just finished school and is starting a job doesn’t have that savings to pay all these huge demands for rent allowance. This shows a market failure because of what the tenants and the landlords want. This is why the government has decided to come up with this to bridge this market failure by setting up a National Rental Assistance Scheme,” he said.
Dr. Bawumia noted that the scheme will mainly serve people in formal employment and will be required to provide guarantors to access the support from the scheme.
He said the loans will be repaid on a monthly basis to match the tenor of the rent, and will be insured to ensure sustainability.
“The Scheme will target individuals (both in the formal and informal sectors) with identifiable and regular income. The rent advance loans will be paid directly into the bank accounts of landlords, who would have to register with the Scheme. Under this scheme, if you have a job and we can deduct regularly from your income under this scheme, the National rent assurance scheme will give you a loan to pay your rent allowance but it is to the landlord. You need to have formal employment.”
He further noted that government will also focus on providing low income housing for low income earners and put in place reforms within the Rent Control Department.
“As part of our interventions, we will also implement the necessary regulatory, institutional, and operational reforms of the Rent Control Department, including the digitisation of its operations, to enhance delivery and make it better able to serve the changing needs of market players, including landlords and tenants. A new Rent Control Act has been drafted for review by Cabinet in this direction,” he noted.
Currently, housing in Ghana is challenged in it all aspects – from land acquisition through to construction of the physical structure and access to basic services and infrastructure as well as financing.
According to Ghana’s 2010 Population and Housing Census, almost 44% of Ghanaians do not having adequate housing.
Also, housing deficit stands at 2 million units, but industry players believe the deficit could be more as the country’s population increases.
Urban Dev’t Consultant calls for comprehensive programme to fix Ghana’s housing deficit
Government’s move comes some few months after Planning and Urban Development Consultant, Bernard Arthur, appealed to political parties to consider a comprehensive housing programme as they design their manifestoes to address the issue of access to housing for majority of Ghanaians.
He blamed the lack of a comprehensive housing policy as well as a financial strategy for implementation of projects for the plethora of challenges confronting Ghana’s housing sector.