Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President, launched 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 funding of Ghs30m, where data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicates renters face the greatest challenges with rental housing.
“In collaboration with the private sector, the Scheme will offer eligible Ghanaians low-interest loans so they can pay their rent in advance. These loans will be insured to ensure sustainability and repaid on a monthly basis to correspond with the length of the rent.
“The Program will target people in the formal and unofficial sectors who have a predictable and identifiable source of income.
At the launch, which was 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, Fedrick Opoku, Dr. Bawumia explained that the rent advance loans would be paid directly into landlords’ bank accounts.
Vice President Bawumia emphasised 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 our citizens with adequate shelter has played a significant role in this administration’s development objectives. As a result, efforts to address issues relating to the housing industry, particularly the rental housing industry, have remained essential to our development agenda.
“I took note of the rental housing market’s overall significance when I went to the Rent Control Department in July 2020 as part of our effort to broaden the range of housing options. I reaffirmed government plans to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the rent control department while also reviewing the law governing rent management in the nation to make it more current with changing trends.
“More importantly, I also mentioned that the government is putting plans in place to introduce a new programme to bridge the information and financial gap between tenants and landlords with regard to the issue of payment of rent advance. These steps would strengthen tenants’ creditworthiness and lessen the need for landlords to request huge rent advances.
“I am especially thrilled to learn about the eligibility standards used in the selection of beneficiaries for the Scheme.
The data generated from the implementation of the Scheme will aid government efforts to increase our revenue stream through the improved collection of rent tax, he added, supporting the call for synchronisation of all platforms with the National Identification System.
Francis Asenso-Boakye, Minister of Works and Housing, thanked all partners and stakeholders for their cooperation in addressing the short- to medium-term market failures in the renter segment of the housing market despite early difficulties.
Hon. Asenso-Boakye urged the media and other stakeholders to help the government educate and inform the public about this crucial 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.”
Who qualifies to apply for the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS)
In order to be eligible for the Scheme, applicants must be citizens of Ghana, have a current Ghana Card, be at least 18 years old, have verifiable employment and earned income, as shown by a bank or mobile money statement, and the rent due cannot be more than 30% of the household’s total income. Parents can also guarantee for their children.
According to the Scheme’s managers, Rent Masters, the results or status of applications will be released 5-10 days after the applications are released. You can find more details at www.nras.gov.gh.
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