‘No strong CSOs in Ghana to hold gov’ts accountable’

General News of Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Oye Lithur Human Rights

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, has noted that civil society organisations (CSOs) have not been able to hold governments accountable for social protection programmes.

She said the development had led to pockets of inequalities in social development across the country, indicating that the country had no strong civil society organisations that monitored social protection programmes.

Nana Oye made the observation at Ghana’s side event at the ongoing 53rd conference of the United Nations Commission for Social Development in New York. The February 4 to 13, 2015, conference being held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York is on the theme: “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world.”

Ghana’s side event was on the theme: “Social protection: A strategic tool for poverty reduction and bridging the inequality gap in Ghana.”

Nana Oye said although the country had over the years made significant strides in a largely uncoordinated regime in handling social protection, more could have been achieved if there was effective CSO monitoring.

Legal framework

To ensure that social protection programmes were harmonised and co-ordinated, Nana Oye said the ministry, together with other partners, was developing a legal and policy framework.

When passed into law, she said, it would help define what social protection was and how it should be applied.

A UNICEF representative, Mr Ted Chaiban, commended Ghana for embracing social protection as a tool to bridge the inequality gap in the country.

He said social protection was essential in promoting resilience to poverty, as well as economic inequality in a country.

Social Programmes

The National Co-ordinator of the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, Mr Robert Austin, who reported on a rationalisation exercise on social protection programmes in Ghana undertaken by his outfit and the World Bank in 2012, said some of the social protection programmes being implemented in the country included the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Free Uniform Programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), National Health Insurance (NHIS), Capitation Grant and the Labour Intensive Public Works Programme (LIPW).

According to him, the report found that funds flowing into these schemes were uncoordinated and also could not be monitored properly, making such resources volatile.

The Director of Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr Mawutor Ablo, said although the country was registering growth, it was not reflective in the lives of people who needed social protection. Leap

A Unicef Representative in Ghana, Mr Peter Luigi Ragno, in a presentation on the assessment of the LEAP programme in Ghana, said it was having a positive impact on education, health, basic food needs, self-security in food, productivity and the local economy.

Two Members of Parliament (MPs), Mr Joseph Amenowode, MP for Afadjato South and Chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, and Mr Robert Osafo-Mensah, MP for Asunafo North and Deputy Ranking Member, pledged to ensure that laws on social protection in the country were duly passed.

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