President Akufo-Addo has received plaudits for his promise to grant students loans without the use of guarantors and also establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) to offer soft loans to young people to rent affordable apartments after school.
According to Prof. Joseph Osafo, Head of the Psychology Department at the University of Ghana, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) proposals when fully implemented would reduce mental case among the youth in particular.
He said the pressures of funding for students as well as high cost of rent for accommodation among starters had become a source of worry for many who end up in mental hospitals due to loss of jobs and their inability to find shelter.
Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced at the weekend in Cape Coast during the manifesto launch of the NPP that the government intended to set up a GH¢100 million national rental assistance scheme to offer loans to people, especially the youth, to pay for their rent advance.
This, he said, would be done in collaboration with the private sector to crowd in more money in order to relieve people of the burden of rent advance.
“It is clear that there are lots of youth who when they finish school just trying to rent accommodation is a big problem. There is a large demand for rent allowance up to two years, but someone who has just finished school and is starting a job does not have the savings to pay the huge demands of landlords,” the Vice-President said.
“The landlords, on the other hand, have got used to asking for two years and insist on it, saying they do not know if the tenant will run away and, therefore, want to collect it affront,” he added.
Besides the rental assistance scheme, the Vice-President also stated that the NPP government under President Akufo-Addo has a policy initiative that will give all tertiary students, except teacher and nursing trainees, who will be on allowances, the option to obtain a student loan without the requirement of a guarantor.
The current scheme asks for guarantors and a lot of people are not willing to put their pensions on the line, and so many students are unable to access,” he noted.
“We want to make it guarantor free and all a student will need is his or her national ID card to be able to access a loan, and once you complete your tertiary education repayment will be deferred for one year after your national service,” he added
Reacting to the NPP manifesto promises, Prof. Osafo said on 'Peace FM' in Accra that the proposed rental assistance scheme and the students' loans would bring relief to many people.
He said the mental health stress which often results in suicide attempts would subside to a large extent.
He called on Ghanaians to support the Akufo-Addo government, saying “once there is a government doing some good work, we are obliged to support it to let it work.”