President John Dramani Mahama has said his government plans to improve the overall outlook of the economy through the enhancement of social protection intervention mechanisms.
According to the President, restructuring government’s social protection policies will have a positive impact on the economic status of the less privileged in the country.
“Since 2007, we have adopted a coordinated approach in implementing our national social protection strategy. In 2013, we created the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection. Our major social protection flagship is the ‘Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Program. It provides support to the most vulnerable in society including the elderly, persons with disabilities and orphans”, President Mahama said.
“In 2013, LEAP was administered to about 74, 000 families. We are set to increase the number of beneficiary households to 150,000 by the close of 2014”, he added.
The Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Program is a social cash transfer program which provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across Ghana to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long term human capital development.
LEAP started a trial phase in March 2008 and then began expanding gradually in 2009 and 2010. As of July 2013, the program had reached over 70,000 households across Ghana with an annual expenditure of approximately 20 million US dollars.
The program is funded from general revenues of the Government of Ghana (50 percent), donations from DFID, and a loan from the World Bank.
It is the flagship program of Ghana’s National Social Protection Strategy and is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP).
The President was speaking on Monday at the Pan-African conference on inequalities at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The event was organized in conjunction with the United Nations Development Program, UN Millennium Campaign, Society for International Development and Third World Network-Africa.