72,000 LEAP beneficiaries to receive cash
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has set October 14 -18 to disburse cash ranging from GH¢ 96.00 to GH¢ 180.00 to 72,000 beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).
The money will cover payment for four months.
The LEAP programme provides cash transfer to extremely poor households who do not have alternative means of meeting their subsistence needs and have limited productive capacity.
It includes the elderly poor, persons with severe disabilities and in difficult circumstances.
Nana Oye Lithur, sector Minister told Ghana News Agency at the weekend that the cash transfer is intended to empower the beneficiary households and help them provide for their basic needs.
It also aimed at supporting them to access existing social protection and other poverty reduction interventions.
The Gender Minister explained that the value of the grants each household would receive depends on the number of eligible target groups, while the amount ranges from GH¢24 to GH¢45 per month per beneficiary.
Mrs Oye Lithur said the number of beneficiary households covered by the programme has also increased from the initial 1,654 in 21 districts in 2008 to the current 72,000 households in 100 districts nationwide.
She said the Ministry aimed at reaching 150,000 households in125 districts by the second quarter of 2014.
The Gender Minister explained that since the inception of the LEAP programme budgetary allocation has increased from GH¢2 million to GH¢30 million.
Statistics indicates that in 2008, a total of 7,224 households in 21districts benefited; the number increased to 17,065 in 54 districts in 2009; and 39,146 in 83 districts in 2010.
In 2011 64,241 households in 100 districts benefited; 71,456 in 2012 in 100 districts and currently about 72,000 are beneficiaries in 100 districts.
Mrs Oye Lithur explained that LEAP is classified as a flagship programme of the National Social Protection Strategy administered by her Ministry under the Department of Social welfare.
She said as a social protection intervention it seeks to reduce poverty and inequality in the country.
The Gender Minister noted that currently Government is implementing approximately 25 social intervention programmes to provide social assistance, empowerment and capacity enhancement for the pro-poor.
“These interventions are aimed at reducing poverty, vulnerability and diminishing the exposure to risks in order to ensure a minimum standard of dignity and well-being,” she noted.
She said the programme compliments the vision of the Millennium Development Goals, which were designed to rid the world of the extremes of poverty, she stated.
Significantly, about 7,860 persons with disability households currently benefit under the bi-monthly cash grant transfer programme.
The number is to increase by December, as the programme expands to cover a total of 100,000 households.
Mrs Oye Lithur said the Gender Ministry also monitors the LEAP to ensure its beneficiaries enrol with the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“As the country strives to attain improved economic status, it is important that we ensure equitable and sustainable development towards a positive social change by putting in such interventions that would address issues of vulnerability,” she said.
The Minister would lead a government delegation on Monday, October 14, to participate and monitor the disbursement of the fund in some local communities in the Greater Accra Region.