Government’s spending on welfare for the most vulnerable and poor people in the country under the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) could exceed the budgeted GHC47.4 million when negotiations for an increment in the grant to the vulnerable is concluded.
According to the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection government has so far this year spent about GHC6.7 million to some of the vulnerable and poor people in Ghana.
This leaves about GHC40.7 million more to be distributed in five tranches for the year with the next payment being in March.
Speaking on the floor of parliament on Tuesday, Alexander Ackon, the Deputy Gender and Social Protection Minister explained that the total amount budgeted for the year excludes a possible increase in grant to households that may come as a result of negotiations currently underway with the Finance Ministry.
LEAP is the Ministry’s flagship social protection programme with the objective to reduce poverty among the extreme poor and vulnerable by increasing consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities.
An average of GHC36 per beneficiary household per month was used to calculate the grant for the new additions in 2015.
At the beginning of the year, a total of GHC6, 714, 666 was paid to LEAP beneficiaries, making it the 34th time that government has doled out welfare tickets to the poor across the country.
“The amount included four month arrears of 11,926 new beneficiary households that were added and paid in in January, 2015”.
He further added: “By March 2015, payments will be made to 90,785 beneficiaries, with a total of GHC5, 554,992 will be disbursed”.
So far, 34 cycles of LEAP payments have been made to 88,932 beneficiary households in 144 districts in the 10 regions of the country.
The Ministry says it is also implementing the LEAP 1000 project, which seeks to address stunting and malnutrition among children, the first 1000 days from conception.
LEAP 1000 is scheduled to be launched in Tamale, the Northern regional capital on 4th of March this year.
Source : B&FT