Government has committed GH�7.5 million to be paid to beneficiary households in 80 districts, under the Livelihood Employment against Poverty (LEAP) programme this year, as against the GH�2.2 million released the previous year.
The number of districts has also been increased from 54 to 80 while the beneficiary households also increased from 8,426 to 35,000, Mr Stephen Amoanor Kwao, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare said in Accra on Tuesday.
Taking his turn at the Meet-The -Press series in Accra, the Minister said the significant increment over the previous year's amount demonstrated government's determination to provide sustainable social protection for the extremely poor and vulnerable in society. He said emergency LEAP cash transfers totalling GH�709,640 were disbursed to 18,272 households in 20 districts in February and June. Mr Kwao said Ghana Post had been contracted by the Ministry to transfer and disburse the cash payments to beneficiary households. The payments, he said, were done every month and the next payments were scheduled for August 18 to 20.
Mr Kwao said the Ministry had established Social Protection and Livelihood Technical Committee comprising 28 Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to strengthen their capacity to co-ordinate and effectively implement Social Protection Programmes especially, in the areas of Health, Education, Women and Children. He said the Department for International Development (DFID) had supported the ministry to develop an Institutional Strengthening Plan (ISP), to enhance the implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy and LEAP.
He said the DFID had committed 3.2 million Pounds over the next four years to facilitate the implementation of ISP, including the procurement of equipment and logistics and technical support to augment staff capacity. The Minister said eight officials were trained in Cape Town, South Africa in the design and implementation of the Social Cash Transfer Programmes.
Mr Kwao announced that the ministry and other MDAs in collaboration with the World Bank, DFID and UNICEF was developing a common targeting mechanism to support the implementation of social protection interventions in Ghana. He therefore reiterated the ministry's commitment to developing sustainable strategies and provision of alternative means of livelihood and called for support and co-operation from all stakeholders and the citizenry to achieve the goal.
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