DISBURSEMENT of grants under the proposed Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme has been postponed.
The disbursement was to have started at the end of February, 2008, but has been postponed to March 17 to 21, 2008.
According to Ms Angela Asante-Asare, the Programme Co-ordinator of the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) at the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment (MMYE), the postponement was to enable the conclusion of activities for a smooth disbursement process.
The February 4, 2008 issue of the Daily Graphic reported that disbursement was to start at the end of the month.
Ms Asante-Asare said the Social Welfare, which was the implementing agency, was working closely with other key partners, including post offices where payments would be made.
The payment of grants of between GH¢8 and GH¢15 to very poor households was first announced last month by the government as a social protection measure for those in dire social and economic need.
Very poor households in 21 districts have been selected to benefit from grants under the programme, which is part of a social protection package for the poor.
The LEAP programme is a component of the National Social Protection Strategy, which aims at investing in people through social assistance schemes.
The core feature of the programme is direct cash transfer to categories of poor people.
The Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS 5) which was conducted in 2005 and 2006 indicated that 41 per cent of Ghanaians were poor and out of that figure, 18.2 per cent were considered extremely poor.
At his turn at the Meet-the-Press series organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation in Accra on January 31, 2008, the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Nana Akomea, said under the programme, the government would spend less than one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to achieve payouts to more than 160 extremely poor Ghanaian households as a major complementary measure to relieve “fellow citizens who at the moment find themselves in the category of extremely poor, vulnerable and excluded”.
“We are talking about households who have HIV sufferers who have difficulty in raising the highly subsidised GH¢5 cost of monthly treatment. We are talking about households that benefit from improved seeds for planting but end up using some of the seeds for food,” he stressed.
He noted that the amount to be disbursed per month ranged from GH¢8 to GH¢15 depending on the extent of poverty and whether the household had an orphan, a severely disabled person, and persons aged more than 65, adding that the programme would be implemented nationwide from 2008 to 2012.
He described the extremely poor which the LEAP would take care of as those whose income fell below US$1.00 and were unable to cater for their basic human needs including their food requirements and also suffered from poverty across generations.
“The primary target of LEAP is this 18.2 per cent of the people identified by the GLSS as falling into the category of extreme poor,” the minister stated.
DAILY GRAPHIC, MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2008