FREE UTILITIES MAY ONLY BENEFIT LANDLORDS-NOT ALL GHANAIANS.
The support given to Ghanaians (eg free water and electricity, and tax freez on income) during the partial lockdown will make very little or no impact on most people at all if the government does not come out with additional measures to ensure that those interventions actually get to them.
This is how it works:
1. The tendency in Ghana is often for landlords to increase either rent or bills or both whenever there are wage increases.
2. Most tenants in Ghana have their bills included in their rents which they pay directly to the landlord. As these utilities are now free for the next three months, that relief will only go to the landlords, not the health workers and other tenants whom they are actually intended for.
I am not sure how the case of tenants who pay rents with utility bills inclusive may be addressed but somehow, government still has to address that and ensure that the cost of these free utilities are actually passed on to the tenants.
A strong statement to freez any rent increases for those three months and a hotline for tenants to report their landlords anonymously could be a good starting point.
I wrote on another platform when the new restrictions bill was going through parliament that a rent freez provision be added to that bill if there was no existing legislation, but I doubt if that got to the attention of anyone.
As things stand now, the greatest beneficiaries of this help are the landlords.