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LEAP To Be Extended To More Beneficiaries - Nana Oye   
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The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, has hinted that her ministry is currently working with the Ministry of Finance to increase the stipend being given to LEAP (Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty) beneficiaries. 

This was in response to an appeal made by one Agnes Mensah, a beneficiary at Somanya Jaba Road pay point, when the Minister stopped over to monitor payment in that area.

According to Ms Mensah, the stipend being given them currently was woefully inadequate considering the harsh economic times. She added that during festive occasions like Christmas, some groceries should be added to the cash transfers.

Nana Oye Lithur assured others who also expressed similar sentiments that the ministry would soon finalise negotiations that will lead to an increase in the amount. 

“We are trying to increase the GH₵24 to GH₵44,” she added.

The sector Minister, who observed that some beneficiaries gave their identification cards to their wards to collect their monies for them, urged authorities in charge to address such infractions before it gets out of hand. According to her, the children need to be in school, instead of collecting cash transfers for their parents.

She also observed that some beneficiaries were deceased, and asked the municipal directors in charge of LEAP to submit a list of those people to the headquarters for them to be replaced.

Nana Oye Lithur was happy about how smooth payments were being made, and cautioned the women to use the monies for the intended purposes and not for trivialities.

Educating the beneficiaries, she stated that whenever their cash transfers are paid to them, they are not supposed to pay the facilitators or workers any amount.

“Report anyone who demands money from you to the requisite authority,” she appealed.

Nana Oye Lithur again hinted that from next week registration will commence to add about 50,000 beneficiaries to the programme nationwide.

Speaking on why the monitoring exercise was being carried out, Nana Oye Lithur noted that it was necessary to ensure that processes for the payment are being conducted in accordance with laid down procedures.

The Regional Director of Social Welfare, Mr Harris Tete-Donkor, stated that there were 31 communities in the district who were on the LEAP programme, with about 8,000 plus households.

He noted that work was in progress to extend the programme to other communities within the region.

The visit saw the Minister, together with her team, monitor payments at three locations within the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly.

Cash payments are being made to 31 communities within the municipal assembly, with a total of 878 beneficiaries.

One-member household receives GH₵48, household with two eligible members receive GH₵60, household with three eligible beneficiaries get GH₵72 and household with four eligible beneficiaries or more receive GH₵90.

LEAP was introduced to support extremely poor households to meet their very basic needs for survival. The programme is contributing significantly to the wellbeing of beneficiaries.  

A research conducted by the North Carolina University of the USA and ISSER of  the University of Ghana in 2012 indicated that the LEAP programme has improved the living conditions of the beneficiary households.  Their food intake, school enrolment, healthcare services, livelihoods, investments in petty trading and livestock, improvement in the local economy and building social networks have all been positively affected.

Currently, there are two mechanisms of payment - the manual and electronic payments. The manual payments are made by Ghana Post Company Limited whereas the e-payments are done by MTN mobile money, GhIPSS (ezwich) and AYA Technologies.
Source: The Finder

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