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18.2% Of Ghanaians, Extremely Poor- Minister   
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Eighteen point two (18.2) per cent of Ghanaians are living in abject poverty and squalor on less than $1.25 a day, Mr. Kwaku Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, revealed on Tuesday.

He abhorred the fact that despite many interventions put in place by successive governments, some Ghanaians were extremely poor whilst the rich in society continue to get richer.

At a day’s Regional Consultative Meeting on the Draft Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) Policy at Elmina on Tuesday, Mr Sekyere wondered why development programmes meant to improve the living standards of Ghanaians have not covered the entire population.

The meeting was attended by about 30 participants drawn from district assemblies, the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Social Welfare, the Department of Women, road contractors and the Ghana Journalists Association in both Central and Western Regions.

It was organised by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (MESW) in partnership with the Ghana Social Opportunities Projects (GSOP) with the aim to collate the views and contributions of participants on the draft policy document.

The Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) seeks to create gainful employment for the economically active unemployed labour force which is unable to effectively compete in the formal labour market.

GSOP was providing 56 million dollars to run the LIPW for five years and that it was also providing 20 million dollars for the full roll out of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) project nationwide.

The Government of Ghana with support from its Development partners and Private Sector sources is funding the programme which will focus mainly on the youth in areas like agriculture, climate and disaster management.

Mr. Sekyere noted that youth unemployment was a major source of concern of the nation which if not checked could create insecurities in the country.

The LIPW will therefore be employed into projects to help reduce unemployment and poverty rates drastically.

He said when passed into law, the LIWP will have a legal framework to support it and called on the implementers of the policy to work hard and ensure it progresses into a legislation for the benefit of the nation at large.

Mr. Daniel Kattah, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME) at the MESW said the Project is intended to reduce Ghana’s “addiction”, to external financial inflows for national development.

Aside giving hope to extremely poor households to be self-reliant, it will also reduce rural-urban migration, particularly of the youth and increase income levels of the poor.

Mr. Robert Austin, National Coordinator of GSOP explained that GSOP was an 89.1 million dollar project situated within the context of the national social protection strategies initiated in 2006.

The School Feeding Programme, the provision of free school uniforms and exercise books as well as the Capitation Grant formed the first phase of the GSOP.**
Source: GNA

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