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Regional News of Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Source: GNA

Govt adjust LEAP cash upward

Government has approved the upward adjustment of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) grant to improve conditions of household beneficiaries and get them out of poverty.

With effect from Monday, September 28, one member household which received GHc48.00 previously will now receive GHc64.00, two member households which received GHc60.00 will receive GHc76.00, while three member households will get GHc88.00 from a previous of GHc72.00.

Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, who announced this at a press conference in Accra, said four or more member households will now be paid GHc106.00, and assured all of government’s commitment to put in measures that would make life comfortable for the vulnerable in society.

She said the Gender Ministry, which has an oversight responsibility over the programme made a case for upward adjustment of the grant to Government, which was approved, noting that 50,000 new beneficiaries were being added from 184 districts.

Nana Oye Lithur said the Ministry was on track to hit the 200,000 beneficiary household mark by December this year, which would translate into at least 800,000 individuals.

The Gender Minister noted that LEAP was having positive impact on poverty alleviation in Ghana and commended the government for its continuous commitment and support.

She said a research conducted by the University of Carolina and ISSER has revealed that LEAP has increased school enrollment among secondary school aged children by seven per cent, and reduced grade repetition among both primary and secondary aged children.

Among primary school children, LEAP has reduced absenteeism by 10 per cent, she added.

She said the study estimated that every, one Ghana Cedis transferred to a beneficiary family has the potential to increase the local economy by GHc2.50.

The impact of the cash transfer on the local economy is therefore likely to significantly exceed the amount transferred to beneficiaries.

Nana Oye Lithur said to further strengthen the programme, the Ministry would conduct a national evaluation exercise in 2016 to assess its impact.

“Full electronic payment will also be rolled out next year. The procurement process for the electronic payment is underway,” she added.

The Gender Minister said an aspect of the LEAP programme, LEAP 1000, targeted at pregnant women and children less than two years old, is to tackle malnutrition and eventually prevent stunted growth.

“We are again glad to announce that payment to beneficiaries of LEAP 1000 will also begin next week. Some 6006 beneficiaries of LEAP 1000 in three districts in the Upper East, and seven in the Northern Region will benefit from the first payment,” she said.

The LEAP aims at providing a safety net for the poorest and most marginalized groups in Ghana.

A total of about 90,000 beneficiary households in 144 districts were paid their social cash granted in June this year.

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