Rental Scheme should be weaned off political interference [Article]

One good friend of mine who is older to be my elder brother told me he had to cough up GH¢12,000 as rent advance to secure a two-bedroom self-contained house. He is a professional teacher. As a national service person at the time, I was awed. I envisioned that I could save either my allowances or stock up my salary in the future to make up the aforementioned amount. Some of us, who are trying to find feet starting out in life, ought to explore ways to make a lot of cash to get a cosy room to rent.

On 3rd February 2023, I was privileged to be assigned to cover the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. It was the launch of the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS). Hosted by the Ministry of Works and Housing, several political figures took turns to comment on the NRAS.

One thing worth mentioning was the allocation of 30 million Ghana cedis as start-up funds to cater for the first pilot phase of the scheme in five regions. The reason is that these five regions according to research had their inhabitants having pressing challenges with accommodation.

The Scheme Manager, Richard Acheampong indicated that beneficiaries of the scheme would be allowed access to a threshold of GHc1,500 as payment for the rent.

In explaining how the scheme works, he noted that the beneficiary after satisfying the statutory requirements of being 18 years and above, proof of citizenship, and employment, first will have to identify the kind of room to rent.

He/she communicates that to the Scheme and then the money is issued. He/she pays back with a low-interest charged on the amount.

The cash paid with interest to the Scheme is then given to another beneficiary. So, the fund in its totality will be revolving. An intriguing statement from the Vice President caught my attention. That, the Scheme will be devoid of political interference.

It is quite crucial, to lay emphasis on political interference where people who merit it will be bypassed and given to someone else just because they have close relations with the big shots in government. Some may even want to cut corners and get the loan and end up not even paying back. I acknowledge that, every initiative has its own embedded challenges.

However, there is a need to identify the loopholes ahead and be on guard. As the project kicks off, duty bearers are to prioritize the youth with genuine needs who do not have any political connection.

All the protocols which have been laid down by the Scheme should be duly followed by all. Good policies by the government have failed in the middle of their delivery. I think that this policy to provide loans for rent is good and should not be following the trajectory of inconsistencies.

In a similar scenario, I remember when the Nations Builders Corps (NABCo), a temporary move to engage the youth whiles they work for permanent employment. The trainees threatened to protest against the government for the non-payment of their allowances.

The Public Relations Officer of NABCo Naa Techie said, “the indication is that NABCo trainees have been left in limbo. NABCo Trainees have been subjected to incessant public ridicule, and they have also been subjected to severe hardships and are in a state of starvation to death”. This should not be said of the NRAS.