The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur (Mrs), has stated that implementing social protection programs would help reduce poverty, promote inclusive growth and address inequalities in the country.
She added that, when the extremely poor and vulnerable are targeted for social protection, state resources would be equally distributed and would help break the inter-generational cycle of poverty in Ghana.
Nana Oye Lithur said this when she met the press in Accra today, to throw more light on social protection programmes and how it has been implemented and coordinated in the country.
She disclosed that, Government was currently implementing forty-four (44) social protection programmes such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), Ghana School Feeding Program, Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) among others, as part of measures to reduce poverty in the country.
She mentioned that, her Ministry, which is responsible for coordinating social protection programmes in the country, had established a Social Protection Directorate to develop and implement the Social Protection Agenda and would be part of the Department of Social Development.
On the issue of policy and legal framework for social protection, the Minister explained that, a cabinet paper on effective and efficient coordination of Social Protection was being finalised and would be submitted to parliament this week.
Mrs Lithur disclosed that, the Ministry, with support from the World Bank, would set up the National Targeting Unit (NTU) within the Social Protection Directorate to cater for all potential beneficiaries for social protection programmes being implemented by the government of Ghana.
The Minister further assured Ghanaians of government’s commitment in reducing poverty in the country and called on all stakeholders to help attain the goal.
On her part, the Country Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Susan Ngongi, said Ghana only spends under 0.1% of its budget on LEAP and could expand to cover more people than the current ones.
She added that, social protection plays a major role in a country’s social and economic development and should be given the necessary attention.