Justice Reuben Adusei Writes: High Cost of Rent in Ghana; Who is behind the Steering Wheel?
To say the truth, a greater percentage of the populace live in poverty, hence, incapable of meeting the daily expenses in everyday life.
The economy of Ghana has become so hard to the point that, the price or cost of almost everything in this country has become extremely exorbitant. The prevailing general economic situation as currently faced by many a Ghanaian in all sincerity and honesty, is awfully unbearable. However, the reality on the ground is that, the ordinary Ghanaian is highly impoverished in almost all spheres of his or her life. In fact, impecuniousity has become the bane of our social, economic, and national life as a sovereign country.
To say the truth, a greater percentage of the populace live in poverty, hence, incapable of meeting the daily expenses in everyday life. Nonetheless, surveys upon surveys conducted by some renowned Think Tanks, Institute of Economic Affairs, Ghana Statistical Service, Institute of Social Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER), World Bank among others are testaments to the fact that, many a Ghanaian live in conditions, extremely dehumanizing and humiliating. In fact, the worse form of poverty-stricken living condition of the ordinary Ghanaian is that, to be able to feed himself three times daily meal is now a problem. Sometimes, some of the Ghanaian people go to bed on an empty stomach.
To sound a realist, I want to bring to the attention of the government of the day that, there is a skyrocketing cost of rent in this country. In fact, this has made it almost impracticable for the ordinary Ghanaian to rent for himself or herself a decent room or apartment for habitation. Now, if you should take a survey around the country, you will be shocked to see that the average rent in Ghana is hovering around the region of Ghc80.00 and Ghc120.00 a month. As if that was not enough, today, most Landlords and Landladies in Ghana take an average rent period of 2years. Calculatedly, take for example, a Ghc80.00 for 2years. That will be: Ghc80×24= Ghc1,920.00. However, this unpleasant and undignified situation must with immediate effect be salvaged by the government of the day before things get out of hand. However, I would like to walk my most revered readers through how as a country we have gotten to where we are now in the area of high cost of rent, the damning effects and some suggested remedies to the situation.
The current economic privation is influenced by a multi-factors in other words, a plethora of factors. However, some of the factors responsible for this pervasive economic asperity are stated and briefly explained as follows:
Lack of Effective National Development that prioritizes the Plights of the Ordinary Ghanaian
It is quite obvious that, as a Low-Income Developing Country (LIDC), our governments, both present and pass have not formulated any National Development Plan that chiefly focuses on alleviating the privation of the ordinary Ghanaian. This, however, is the foundational cause of the old-aged sufferings or hardships of the Ghanaian people. In fact, critically analyzing the development agenda of almost all the governments both NPP and NDC, it could be seen that, they both focus much attention to capital developments or capital projects rather than human development projects. In fact, when this happens, it can not be doubted that, a greater percentage of the Ghanaian populace will be languishing in abject poverty and privation.
Hilly or Mountainous Public Debt Phenomenon
Importantly, one of the factors responsible for the current economic privation prevalent in this country of ours is the highly ballooned public debt phenomenon which is now an albatross around our necks. From a well researched point of view, The debt stock of Ghana has since risen by 7000% to $54billion which is 78% of GDP, while the average for developing countries is pegged at 60%. However, I wish to bring to the knowledge of my most respected readers of this my article that, Ghana’s public debt hits 391billion (Cedis) as of 1st quater this year, 2022 (This is from January, February and March). Now, the significant question that needs to be asked is, how can the generality of the Ghanaian people feel comfortable when we are so much soaked in debt? It is said in the Twi parlance that, “Y3 de ka a, y3nwe sardines” which literally means, we don’t enjoy sardines when you owing so much.
Covid-19 Pandemic and Russia-Ukraine War
Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 Pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war have had a ravaging effects on the global economy and the economy of Ghana for that matter. In recent times, I read it in the news that, Russia through her Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Sergey Berdnikov ruled that, Ghana’s current economic woes can not be attributed to their invasion to the Ukraine. However, I want to avert the minds of my cherished readers to the fact that, the global economy was not as bad as it is currently when they had not invaded Ukraine. So it can’t be said that, they are blameless in this whole catastrophic situation around the World. Essentially, this has exacerbated the already economic hardships experienced by the Ghanaian people. In fact, to add salt to the injury of the ordinary Ghanaian, they are now slapped with whooping sums of money that goes into rent. I stand to be corrected though, the Rent Control laws in Ghana frown on the practice of Landlords or Landladies taking more than a two or three months rent from prospective tenants.
Effects of High Cost of Rent in Ghana
Fundamentally speaking, the problem of high cost of rent faced by the Ghanaian people has had some deplorable effects on the national life of Ghanaians. Among some of the effects are briefly explained as follows:
Exacerbated Economic Woes
Apparently, an increased cost of rent being experienced by the generality of the Ghanaian people has the potency of causing more pressure on the economy. This will mean that, the inflation situation in the country will further be worse than before. However, this situation doesn’t promote economic growth and development of our country.
Corruption, Neighing and Wickedness
It is becoming more than crystal clear that, when the people are made to pay a relatively higher cost of rent in Ghana, it will create a breeding grounds for corruption, neighing and wickedness. However, more often than not, some Landlords and Landladies tend to be corrupt in extorting ‘high’ amount of money from the innocent poor prospective tenants in Ghana.
Dwindled Ability and Appetite to Save
From the perspective of economics, saving is given as: Y-Ce=S. However, what that means is that, the Y means the income level of the individual consumer, whereas Ce also means, the current expenditure of the individual consumer and the S means, the savings of the individual consumer. So now, let’s give a consideration to a scenario whereby a consumer has an income of Ghc100.00 and spends a Ghc80.00 on rent. How much would be his savings? Clearly, he is left with only Ghc20.00 as his savings. Critically looking at this scenario created, would that not result in a dwindled savings? Of course, the ability and appetite of the individual consumer to save will drastically dwindle or shrink. This, however, doesn’t help economic growth and development in this our dear country, Ghana.
Suggested Solutions to Remedy the Situation
From the obvious point of view, when there is a problem, there must be a solution to mitigate or arrest it either temporarily or permanently. However, the followings are some suggested solutions:
Effective Workable Rent Control System
This my article proffers that, there should be an effective workable Rent Control management system that will be responsible to fixing reasonable fees for rent in Ghana. In fact, the situation that pertains in the general economy as being described as Liberal or Opened Economy should be different from that of the Rent System in that, no Landlord or Landlady should be allowed to fix their own fees to suit their whimps and caprices.
Developing A National Development Plan that Seeks to Correct the Housing Deficit Problem
Once again, this scholarly crafted article suggests that, the government of the day should as a matter of priority, craft or draft a National Development Plan that factors in the problem of housing deficit to remedy the problem of high cost of rent in Ghana. It is also humbly suggested to all governments both the present and future should treat it as a matter of urgency to critically step in to salvage the problem of rent in Ghana. Else where, governments absorb a certain percentage of the citizenry’s rent depending on the income levels of the individuals living in the country.
Conclusively, I want to, in all humility and respect, give my candid judgement that, the Rent Control Agency as a regulator in the rent regime of this country, explicitly mandated by the necessary laws, regulations, and parliamentary enactments (i.e Acts or LI), should be up to task to ensure an optimum discipline, fairness, equity and compliance in the rent system between the Landlords or Landladies and the tenants in Ghana. In fact, the services rendered by the Rent Control Agency in Ghana leave much to be desired. It is high time they are told in the face that, their services in this country are nothing to write home about.
By Justice Reuben Adusei