Dr Bawumia launches novel National Rent Assistance Scheme

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Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President, introduced the ground-breaking National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) in Accra.

The National Rental Assistance System (NRAS), to be run by a private sector property manager under the supervision of the Ministry of Works and Housing and other key stakeholders, is intended to make rental housing more accessible, affordable, and convenient by relieving the unfair burden of multi-year rent advance payments demanded by landlords faced by lower income households and the country’s youth.

The Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Bono East, and Northern Regions will see the initial roll out, with a seed financing of Ghs30m, where data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicates renters have the biggest challenges with renting housing.

“In partnership with the private sector, the Scheme will provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them to pay rent in advance. These 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 in the formal and informal sectors with identifiable and regular income. The rent advance loans will be paid directly into landlords’ bank accounts, who would also have to register with the Scheme,” Dr Bawumia explained at the launch, attended by among others, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Hon Ignatius Baffuor-Awuah, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, and the General Secretary of the National Tenants’ Union, Frederick Opoku.

Vice President Bawumia emphasized that the interventions made by the Akufo-Addo Government since it took office in 2017, particularly the National Digital Property Address System (GhanaPost GPS), the National ID system, and Mobile Money Interoperability had made it possible to roll out a scheme where all parties are confident in conveniently having their needs met. He outlined the various steps that culminated in the Scheme being included in the NPP’s 2020 Manifesto.

“As a people-focused Government, providing meaningful shelter for our citizens has formed a significant part of this Government’s developmental goals, and measures taken to address problems associated with the housing sector, especially the rental housing sector, have remained vital to our development agenda.
“When I visited the Rent Control Department in July 2020, I noted the overall importance of the rental housing market in our quest to increase access to housing options. I reiterated plans by Government to make the Rent Control Department more effective and efficient, while also, reviewing the Law governing rent management in the Country to make it more relevant to evolving trends.

“More importantly, I also mentioned that on the issue of payment of rent advance, Government is putting in place plans to introduce a new programme to bridge the information and financial gap between tenants and landlords. These measures would enhance tenants’ creditworthiness and reduce the need for large rent advance requests by landlords.

“I am particularly excited to learn of the eligibility criteria that have been adopted in the selection of beneficiaries for the Scheme. It does not only support the call to synchronize all platforms with the National Identification System but also the data produced from the implementation of the Scheme will facilitate government efforts at expanding our revenue stream through the improved collection of Rent Tax,” he stated.

The Minister for Works and Housing, Hon Francis Asenso-Boakye, expressed his gratitude to all partners and stakeholders who, despite initial challenges, had worked together to address the short-to-medium term market failures in the renter segment of the housing market.

Hon Asenso-Boakye called on the media and other stakeholders to assist the government in informing and educating the general public on this all-important Scheme, noting that “public programmes of this nature may come with its own operational challenges during implementation, but we are confident experiences and lessons would be learned to make the Scheme better across the country.”

Qualification

Candidates for the Scheme must be citizens of Ghana, have a current Ghana Card, be at least 18 years old, and have verifiable employment and earned income, as shown by bank or mobile money statements. In addition, the amount of rent that must be paid cannot be greater than 30% of the household’s total income.
Additionally, parents might promise for their kids.

According to Rent Masters, the managers of the Scheme, the outcomes or status of applications will be made public 5–10 days after the applications are made public.
You may get more details at www.nras.gov.gh.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com

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