Government’s effort towards defeating poverty and reducing inequalities among the extremely poor Ghanaians could be impeded, if unnecessary delays in the disbursement of funds to beneficiaries of LEAP continue to occur, Send-Ghana, a policy and advocacy think tank has cautioned.
“We would like to caution that Ghana risks derailing the progress made in her efforts towards defeating poverty and reducing inequalities, if we allow needless delays and irregularities in funds disbursement to undermine the impact of poverty reduction intervention such as LEAP.
“We therefore urge government to never again delay in the payment of LEAP beneficiaries, and the effect of such undue delays could be devastating on the lives of the poor and vulnerable,” the Organization advised.
The caution follows a delay in the release of funds for the 61th cycle LEAP payment to beneficiaries across the country, creating discomfort and anxiety amongst the recipients.
The delay affected some 30,000 LEAP Household with over 125,000 beneficiaries in 10 districts across the country during the previous payment cycle in June.
Addressing a News Conference in Accra Monday, the Deputy Country Director of SEND-Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Ayifah, said the organization issued a press statement in September 2019, drawing the attention of government about the predicaments and sentiments of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty beneficiaries and thus called for its immediate intervention.
“SEND-Ghana is happy to learn that government responded favorably and in October last month, funds were released and payment to LEAP beneficiaries have since been completed in most part of the regions. We highly commend the government for fulfilling its obligation to the core poor in our society,” Dr Ayifah stated.
He was of the view that the disbursement of the cash is critical to restoring confidence in the programme, and guaranteeing the safety and dignity of the poor and vulnerable citizens, who count on LEAP to address their basic needs.
Dr Ayifah also called on government to make adequate provisions for social protection expenditure, as it presents the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy on November 13th 2019 and ensure that such budgetary allocations are fully and timely disbursed.
Social protection, according to him is the right of citizens and that it is not a favour being done to the beneficiaries, Therefore, government’s attempt at fulfilling such rights must not be done partially.
He further called on government to increase the grant size and ensure its timely inflows, which in SEND-Ghana’s view, largely resonates with the voices of diverse groups and stakeholders, including Civil Society, research institutions and the academia.
By Mohammed Suleman