The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, has bemoaned the difficulties some beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), go through during payments of their stipends.
She, therefore, tasked financial institutions contracted to effect such payments to provide decent services to the vulnerable otherwise the sector ministry would be compelled to descend heavily on them.
“I don’t even understand why beneficiaries would be made to travel long distances just to receive their stipends, which is bi-monthly. As part of the project, payments are supposed to be done in the communities and not at one centralised place because that cost is factored into it,” she said.
The minister made the observation at Nadowli in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region, during a working visit to the area.
She received complains that the National Investment Bank (NIB), the financial institution contracted to effect payments of LEAP beneficiaries in the district, did not have enough funds to pay all the 365 beneficiaries, who had travelled to the district capital for their monies.
Out of the 365 beneficiaries, who were supposed to receive their payments, only 180 had been paid after waiting for well over eight hours in the scorching sun, and the only reason for the delay was that the bank did not have enough funds for payments.
Madam Djaba described the situation as unacceptable, and asked the bank to provide food and accommodation for the beneficiaries if the bank was unable to pay all of them before the close of day.
The Minister, who paid a courtesy call of queenmothers in the region, appealed to traditional authorities to support the fight against child marriage.
Madam Djaba said ensuring the education of children, especially the girl-child was one of the surest ways of breaking the cycle of poverty.
She also advised the queenmothers to encourage women to enroll their children in school.
The minister also visited the St Joseph Orphanage, at Jirapa, where she donated food items for the upkeep of the children at the facility.
From Cliff Ekuful, Wa