There are about 8.6 million Ghanaians living below the lower and upper poverty lines, Government Statistician Dr Philomena Nyarko has revealed.
Speaking to Class News’ Jerry Akornor on the sidelines of a Dialogue Series on Sustainable Development with a focus on social protection programmes, Dr Nyarko said: “About 6.4 million Ghanaians are below the upper poverty line and 2.2 million are below the lower poverty line,” and, therefore, urged policymakers to target such people with their social protection policies so as to help fight poverty and avoid wasting resources.
According to Dr Nyarko, this approach will limit hardships, alleviate poverty and strengthen social protection systems for sustainable development.
Dr Nyarko said policymakers must “target the people who really need help”, adding: “When we say the very poor, it means these people don’t have enough resources to even cater for their nutritional requirement. …So if we are really able to identify the very poor households, then we will not waste resources because if you don’t use a very good mechanism to identify the people and then you go and give it to people who really don’t need it, then you are wasting resources and the poor will still be poor.”
Meanwhile, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Nana Oye Lithur has said steps are being taken to bring various social protection interventions under a single umbrella for effective implementation.
“We have about 44 social protection programmes and each one was operating separately from the other and they were not speaking to each other in terms of harnessing resources and making sure that for instance, there may be an adult in the household who can work so that person may be transferred to labour-intensive public works so that that person can be taught a skill. So, now, we are coordinating through the social protection directorate so that we can identify. And that is why if we have one common database, we will be able to track and know that this person can go to labour-intensive public works and get a job and be trained or can go to youth employment. So, this is what the targeting is also about – that we use one standard to identify potential beneficiaries,” she stated