The decision taken by Ministry of Public Service to continue with current rental Public Service Rental Scheme is acknowledged.
It was announced in 2021 a new policy was passed by Cabinet to enable all rentals were paid direct to Officers' bank accounts. The rational for the change is to help mitigate the rising prices in the rental market. Although the policy is anticipated to manage the challenges facing officers, it must be noted Government is the major procurer of rental leases in Honiara and Provincial Centers.
Middle class home owners rely on SIG rentals as sources of income to meet their needs as well as to repay any loans obtained to improve their properties. Currently Government is slicing down on its rentals, tenants who used to have 100% Waivers years gone by in 2022, Government only approved a maximum of 30% as additional waiver onto of their rental eligibilities. The new policy would further reduce the amount of money paid to officers since the new policy suggests rentals will be paid according to officers eligibility and waivers will not be allowed. Government needs to seriously reconsider its decision on the matter based on the following grounds.
First, the Psychological effect of the policy on officers- Housing is a basic need, when one enjoys a rented house at $5000 a month for many years suddenly receives a cash rental for $3700 a month has a short fall of $1300. That shortfall to a struggling officer cannot be taken from his or her pay to since too small to cover the short fall. Officers will under go stress and anxiety.
Secondly, Shock and excitement to be paid large amount of money. Officers did not have the comfort to receive high sums of money paid to them so when they receive their quarterly rents in lump sum, the temptation to spend the money without paying for their rent is high.
Third, home owners stand a chance of losing out because they will be forced to reduce their rentals in order to keep tenants. The difference in their incomes would affect their ability to meet their commitments especially if they took out loans.
I suggest Ministry of Public Service should instead develop a new scheme that would help both its officers and the rental market so that it creates win win incentives for both landlords and officers as tenants in general.
Public Service Rental Scheme
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Charles Sisimia and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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