Send Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has proposed the establishment of a Social Protection Fund to address the consistent delay in the payment of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) grant to beneficiaries.
The civil society organisation also asked government to make available funds to put finishing touches to proposed draft on Social Protection Bill to provide guidelines on how to secure financing and also protect the rights of beneficiaries among others.
Dr Emmanuel Ayifah, deputy Country Director of SEND-Ghana made the appeal yesterday in Accra during media interaction to express their concern about payment of LEAP grant arrears beneficiaries since April to August 2021.
He said for effective social protection delivery, there was the need for government to set aside a dedicated fund to support and sustain social protection programmes saying “this will help stop the delays in payment of the grant.
He said government in fast trading work on Social Protection Bill into law would also help to address issues with regards to social protection in the country to also sustain support for beneficiaries.
Dr Ayifah said GH¢54.00 paid to beneficiaries to cover their two months budget was not enough to be delayed adding that the situation has put beneficiaries in despair and extreme poverty since most could neither feed themselves or attend to their health needs adding that some have resorted to borrowing to worsen their plight.
He said the beneficiaries and the general public were beginning to lose confidence in the scheme because of the rampant delays which characteriSed the grant since 2010 adding that the situation must be prioritiSed in the 2022 budget to curtail such delays.
Dr Ayifah also asked government to focus on completing the Ghana National Household Registry in order to capture a comprehensive data on the number of poor persons in the country to be appropriately targeted since only five regions out of the 16 regions have had theirS completed.
He said Social Protection Programmes like the LEAP, School Feeding Programme, Capitation Grant and the National Insurance Scheme (NHIS) needed to be sustained since the Ghana Living Survey captured about 2.4 million Ghanaians in extreme poverty category while the LEAP beneficiaries were about 1.5 million with many still waiting to be enrolled.
He said inequality was not inevitable or preordained on section of Ghanaian population but a fall-at on policy misdirection adding that with collective efforts the issues could be addressed.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI