A data analyst, Nana Kweku Ofori Atta says government must disclose to Ghanaians the source of funding for a programme dubbed the National Rental Assistance Scheme, which has been officially launched.
This, he explained, would enable the citizenry to interrogate the programme and subject it to scrutiny to ascertain its viability and sustainability.
Sharing his perspective on the scheme with The Chronicle, Nana Ofori Atta indicated that government’s loud silence on the source or sources of funding for the programme is worrying.
“The government is going to the IMF to seek financial bailout because we are in financial distress as a country and our economy has not yet recovered from what government called external shocks.
“It is, therefore, prudent for the government to come out and openly disclose to the general public where its source of funding will come from, because the country is currently cash trapped,” he said.
At the official launch of the scheme, vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said “I am happy to inform you that the government has made significant strides as far as the housing sector and renting management are concerned.
He further indicated that the current Act on rent in Ghana, which was passed by Parliament some 59 years ago, has outlived its relevance.
He continued that, “Government acting through the Ministry of Works and Housing has submitted to Parliament for consideration and passage, a rent bill to replace the existing Rent Act of 1963 Act 220.”
However, the vice president failed woefully to disclose to Ghanaians how the government of Ghana was going to finance the scheme, especially at the time that the economy is almost on its knees.
Reacting to this, Nana Ofori Atta stated that government’s refusal to disclose to the people of Ghana the data on which the system sat, as well as the source of funding was not just improper but also disturbing.
He said “Government needs to let Ghanaians know how much has been set aside for this scheme and also disclose to us the source of funding in order to make the scheme more transparent and credible.
“Many Ghanaians are in jubilation because of the introduction of the policy due to the fact that it is supposed to provide decent accommodation in an effort to end the age old problem”, he said.
However, Nana Ofori Atta, who is also a security expert, posited that “government must first of all give us an accurate data about the scheme and tell Ghanaians how the scheme would be funded”.
He added that “Sources of funding for governmental initiatives must not be shrouded in secrecy but must be openly disclosed so that the citizens can know and interrogate same”.
For instance, he disclosed that it was when the citizens were aware of the source of funding, that they could determine the sustainability and the lifespan of the programme.
“When a policy does not sit on a well-structured and secured system, it will definitely fail and there are ample examples of how the lack of data has led to the collapse of many government interventions,” he added.
He, therefore, called for a well centralised data based system with tight security features to enhance the disbursement and collection of payment into the scheme.
This, he indicated, would help to keep track of every fund that would go into the scheme, as well as monitor funds that would come out of it to avoid the scheme being used as a conduit for corrupt practices.
He also called for a more robust, sophisticated, uninterrupted and secure system with constant improvement to monitor the day-to-day activities of the scheme.
Solution to the housing problem in Ghana
As part of efforts to address the housing problem in the country Nana KwekuOfori Atta made a laudable suggestion to government.
“I will suggest to government under the office of ministry of works and housing to rather introduce an affordable housing projects across the capital cities of the country”.
This, he added, must come with a payment policy or plan to roll both government and private workers so that they would be able purchase and own them.
As a developing country, he stressed that “Value for money comes in here as a nation. We need to set our priorities right as a nation”.
As part of government’s commitment to reducing the burden of rent and it related issue especially in the cities, vice president MahamuduBawumia On Tuesday, January 31, launched the National Rental Assistance Scheme.
The scheme would assist would-be tenants to pay for their rent advance through the National Rental Assistance Scheme.
Per the terms of the initiative, any Ghanaian above the age of eighteen with a valid National Identity Card could qualify to apply for a loan to pay for a rent.
The prospective applicants, who must first of all have verifiable forms of employment, would negotiate for a place of their choice to rent.
The scheme would then make payment to the landlord or the owner of the house and then make monthly deductions from the applicants.