Of MMDAs and killer property rates
Of MMDAs and killer property rates

Of MMDAs and killer property rates

SOME Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are taking property owners to dizzying heights with the astronomical increase in their property rates. They are in the process, killing the good spirit of individuals owning their own homes.

Somebody needs to tell us why, for example, the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) in Accra has arbitrarily increased some of their area rates by a killer 611.5 per cent without any warning to property owners to prepare minds against the storm. From a property rate of GH¢600, they have gone up to over GH¢4,000 per year. What?

Now it feels like it is becoming an additional burden, in fact, a discouragement for some of us retirees who are likely to consider selling our homes to rent apartments. Is that what our nation wants when we talk about bridging the housing gap?

At a time when young families are saving frantically to acquire their own homes, a time when the national inflation rate is said to be making a gradual descent, having moved from 42.10 per cent to a January 2024 rate of 23.5 per cent.  

At a time when SSNIT pension increased by just 15 per cent and organised labour could only secure some 24 per cent increase in wages, what is the justification for the over 600 per cent increase in property rates by LEKMA?

The last we heard, the housing deficit in the country was 1.8 million and yet, decent housing is claimed to be a fundamental human right. In that direction, it is believed that 60 per cent of the country’s urban population will need government assistance in accessing decent housing facilities.  

So why are those who have sweated to get themselves decent housing being punished with astronomical rates?  

Such incredible property rates and something like the nuisance ground rents are great inhibitors to the fundamental human rights of decent housing for the sector of the population who want to save or take a mortgage to acquire their own homes.

How many times has one not complained about food prices in our markets and implied arbitrarily price hikes by market women?  

One conveniently forgets that these women defy their comforts and get on trucks and on bad roads to bring farm produce to our reach. Who, better than them, deserves food price increases?

We scream at commercial transport owners whenever they make upward adjustments to their fares in the event of fuel price increases. Yet, they not only buy fuel but also the needed spare parts to get their vehicles on the road. Do they deserve reciprocal price raises to stay in business so they can do what they do best?  

How does one compare such critical service providers’ price increases to the assemblies who generally have other means of raking in income in their wider communities where they provide services?  

What is painful to homeowners is the non-reciprocal services that assemblies are expected to render to their communities.

Elsewhere, yes, local authorities do collect rates but they give residents and property owners cause to willingly, without complaining, pay their rates.  

Such local authorities ensure good roads, they provide street lights and see to it that traffic lights function well. They will provide good drainage in communities with covered drains, giving way for pavements for pedestrians.  

Local authorities would ensure the provision of parks and gardens and children’s playgrounds for their communities. The regular and reliable lifting of garbage, even if individual homeowners pay for them, and cleanliness in the general environment is on their to-do lists. 

Public places of convenience in city or town centres and any other convenience amenities for public access are of priority to them.  

In our case, we get virtually nothing of such amenities. To make matters worse, the assembles watch on for pavement encroachments by secondhand electrical appliances used tyres and assorted drinks sellers to do their business at the inconvenience of citizens. Kiosks, make-shift dwellings and shops are indiscriminately littered in residential areas.

Vehicles compete on our roads and streets, with hawkers and noises drumming our ears deaf.

Yet, come the beginning of the year, one gets bombarded with demands for property rates. What one needs to see more of are visible developments and comfort in one’s community, the type that corresponds with the rates that they demand.

LEKMA, and for that matter, those assemblies who have escalated the percentage increase in their property rates to unbelievable multiples of hundreds, should come again.

Property rates and giving back reciprocal developments should go hand in hand.

Just like taxes, one needs to see what these property rates are doing for communities to ginger and encourage the mutuality of the relationship. Otherwise, it becomes something like exploitation and denial of one’s fundamental human rights.

Writer’s E-mail: [email protected]

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