The District Chief Executive for the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, Kwesi Bonzu K, has expressed deep worry over skyrocketing cost of rent in the Ellembelle district, particularly in Essiama and neighboring communities of Atuabo.
According to him, the development is largely due to oil an increase in oil and gas activities in the area.
The situation he said is so bad that the average tenant in Ellembelle finds it difficult to compete for accommodation which was hitherto easy to come by.
Speaking to Citi News, the DCE recounted how it has been easy for tenants, particularly basic school teachers and other public servants posted to the district in time past, but the reverse is the situation presently. He lamented that “it’s a conundrum. “We are in a very difficult situation. It was too much of a landlord in pre oil times to call for Gh50 rent for a month. Calling for Gh50 at the time meant you didn’t want your house to be rented. But today, they are demanding Gh1, 000, Gh1, 500 and the rest. There is one which is even demanding for Gh3, 000 a month!” But let’s ask ourselves, how many of our residents in this district are financially capable to rent these houses? How many of our newly posted nurses and teachers are capable of paying these monies for a month? Let us not even speak about the indigenes who also rent accommodation. How will these traders, peasant farmers in the district who produce cassava pay for these rents? It’s a big conundrum” he lamented.
Asked whether residents are not positioning themselves to take advantage of the oil and gas activities for which reason they are incapable of renting these houses, Mr. Bonzu K explained that “the opportunities that come with these oil and gas activities are just beyond the reach of our people”.
“The residents did not prepare for this. They were not told of these consequences so they could readjust. But even if they were told, how many of these mainly peasant farmers could be getting oil-related jobs?”
He continued that, “let me even tell you what is happening with employment in the oil and gas sector in the district. We have people in the minority who went to study oil and gas related courses in the universities in the last 6 to 7 years. These people are in the house. They are home, even with their training. It is high time the oil companies and all other stakeholders sit down to look for a solution before it escalates to difficult proportions in the years ahead”.