National Poverty Rate 8.4%

participantsGHANA’S extreme poverty rate has been reduced to a single digit of 8.4 per cent according to the current Ghana Living Standard Survey, Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has revealed.

The Livelihood Empowerment   against Poverty (LEAP) programe had made significant strides since its launch she said, adding that the number of beneficiaries’ households has increased from 1,645 in 2007 to 77,006 as at October 31, this year.

She made this known at a public lecture on Saturday in Accra on theme “Social protection, a strategic tool for poverty reduction and bridging the inequality gap in Ghana” to initiate a process to develop a national social protection policy and to seek knowledge and advice from the academia and scholars in the field of social protection.

It was organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Centre for Social Policy studies (CSPS).

Mrs Lithur said the household would increase to 90,000 by next month and to 150,000 by 2015.

She said the ministry had also initiated a process to provide priority service in the health, transport and banking sectors to the elderly, adding it had inaugurated the advisory council for the aged.

Mrs Lithur said the ministry had made significant strides in considering social protection as a national priority and cementing the ideas into Ghana’s social protection structure.

“Social protection has become an indispensible part of government’s responsibility towards its citizens and key to aiding our poverty reduction agenda in line with our effort to meet the millennium developments goals” she added.

She said the ministry had currently implemented 44 social protection interventions which were funded from the government budget.

Former Brazilian Minister for Social Development and fight against Hunger, Madam Marcia Helena Carvalho Lopes, urged the ministry to partner the universities to promote social protection through education.

She said the citizens should be motivated to participate in social protection programmes to ensure the development of the country.

Professor Marcia added that, for the country to achieve equal rights, equal opportunities for all in the country, the people should be motivated.

By Anita Nyarko & Jennifer Apprey

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