General News of Saturday, 22 September 2018
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has outlined preparations by the government to pass Social Protection law by 2019 to facilitate inclusive development and reduce poverty.
It said it was working hard to develop and fine-tune the Social Protection Bill for submission to Cabinet. Dr. Afisah Zakariah, the Chief Director said “we are working assiduously to ensure the passage of social protection law by the year 2019”.
She made this known at a meeting with Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) in the Upper West Regional capital, Wa.
It was held under the theme “Mainstreaming social protection into the activities and policies of FBOs in Ghana”.
She said “currently, a nationwide stakeholders’ consultation is being planned to solicit input from all and sundry to developing and finalizing the Social Protection Bill for onward submission to cabinet for approval”. The Ministry’s collaboration on mainstreaming social protection into the policies, activities and plans of FBOs was going to help the nation to achieve its poverty reduction agenda to ensure inclusive national development.
“My ministry is doing a lot, putting up systems to guarantee effective and efficient coordination in the implementation of social protection programmes in Ghana”.
These included the Ghana National Household Registry - seeking to provide the primary mechanism for targeting beneficiaries for all social protection programmes in the country.
With support from the World Bank a “Helpline of Hope Call Centre” had been established to improve and properly manage grievances associated with the various social protection interventions.
Citizens or beneficiaries benefitting from any social protection programme unhappy about anything could lodge complaint and expect timely, tracked and effective resolution of whatever their concern was.
The centre also allows citizens requiring specific social and economic support to call for any form of assistance be it human trafficking, domestic violence, rape, child labour, child and early marriage, mental and psychological issues, special financial assistance or employment.
“We are very enthusiastic that the FBOs and traditional authorities would take advantage of the help of hope system and provide the needed support to their communities” Dr Afisah said.
Ghana, she added, was implementing a raft of social interventions targeted at reducing poverty and vulnerability and urged stakeholders to give strong backing to these for speedy national growth.
Some of the interventions are the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), School Feeding Programme, Labour intensive public works, Education Capitation Grant, Planting for Food and Jobs and Free Senior High School.
Globally, Dr Afisah noted that, social protection had proven to be a reliable tool for addressing poverty, vulnerability and exclusion.
Dr Rita Owusu Amankwah, the Director of Social Protection at the Ministry, said the draft bill was being worked on together with the Attorney General’s Department for fine-tuning.
She urged FBOs to incorporate social protection issues into their activities to help bring down vulnerability and improve the quality of life of the people.
The Reverend Cyril K. Fayose, General Secretary of the Christian Council, said “to be called upon to address matters of social protection speaks eloquently of the recognition and appreciation by government of the critical role religion and our traditional values in sustainable development and in our quest to leave a better future for the next generation”.