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General News of Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Source: Business Day

Rent Control sinking under Ghc600,000 debt

Rent Control has complained to Business Day newspaper that failure of government to disburse approved statutory funds since 2012 has put the agency at the mercy of contractors whom it owes over Ghc600,000.

The Chief Rent Controller, Addo Soin Dombo lamented that “since 2012, no money has been allocated to us to work with. However, government is taking over some of our functions, and we hope it would not be like another avenue for people to make money from just like other areas," he lamented, adding that, monies allocated to state institutions to perform effectively do not reach them as budgeted for.

According to him, Rent Control was expected to be represented by agents at all the various municipal assemblies across the country to monitor and enforce the rent tax collection but poor mechanization and lack of staff strength has made them ineffective.

The agency has said plans were underway for the opening of an additional 25 new district Offices this year, but lamented that the Department was facing serious financial constraints in carrying out its mandate.

Construction works on a two-storey complex in Wa, a single storey in Jirapa, the rehabilitation of the Tema Office and the Head Office in Accra have been done. An Nkronza Office complex, which cost Ghc9,800.00, was completed and handed over to them in June 2012.

But Mr. Dombo disclosed: “Currently the rent control is owning to the tune of Ghc642,355 to contractors who have worked for us and since 20012 we have not been able to pay them, however they have threatened to sue the rent control and soon it would become another judgment debt for the state."

He continued: "Every year, my outfit does send its budget to the sector ministry yet for the past three years now, the Rent Control has not received a pesewa for its works. Immediately parliament approves it, what deems us runs into thin air and when asked, they tell us that there is no money yet the finance ministry tells Parliament that they have allocated a certain amount to us.”

He urged the government to be prompt in releasing approved funds allocated to the Rent Control to enable it function effectively. He stated that government can generate more money internally without de­pending on foreign aids to run the country by paying attentions to some key areas.

He warned landlords and property owners not to take advantage of the economic challenges to increase their rents astronomically, adding that, "the law will deal with them when caught.” According to him, it is only rents assessment policy that allows landlords and property owners to increase rent.

"Aside this, no landlords have the right to increase rent except that landlords have upgraded the facilities in the houses," he explained

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