NPP Made LEAP An Election Issue – Minister

The Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Moses Asaga, has said the re-launch of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) is devoid of any partisan political motives and claims that the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) made it an election issue. In an interview with, Hon. Asaga pointed out that he found it curious that NPP, who launched the programme in 2008, could have begun the programme in 2001 when they took over power. “I would rather say that the previous administration they made it coincide with an election year because someone will ask why didn’t they do it from 2001 and waited to 2008? In our case it’s just a coincidence because the donor money that we have negotiated for just came in about a month ago,” he disclosed. The Minister’s comments follow assertions by former Information Minister under the Kufuor administration, Stephen Asamoah Boateng that the reintroduction of the LEAP programme is a hypocritical endeavor embarked upon by the government. According to him, the NDC mocked the LEAP program when it was introduced in 2008. The Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, however, said the timing of the re-launch is not geared toward winning any political points. According to him, the delay in the re-launch was to allow government the opportunity to properly structure the reach to as many citizens as possible. “I don’t think the donor community will go by the timetable that it’s an election year. We have been trying to mobilize the resources to enhance the grant cash and we have been doing this for the past two years because we needed the pilot project to be successful,” he said. Asaga added,“most of the donors have been impressed with the government in the way we managed the pilot project and therefore in the last consultative group meeting they decided to do the pledges. In the case of the UK and the World Bank they have brought the cash up front and say we must start disbursing. So it has nothing to do with coincidence with an election year. "In any case, poor people don’t know what is an election year! ... They need basic things of life that me and you take for granted.”