Politics of Monday, 26 September 2016

Source: GNA

NDC to roll-out additional social protection initiatives

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has affirmed that under its next government structure (2017-2021) it would roll-out additional social protection initiatives to sustain the livelihood of the vulnerable and lift others out of poverty.

The NDC said under the second term of President John Dramani Mahama, the government would continue to consolidate and expand the interventions that have been implemented over the last four years and introduce additional social protection initiatives, the party stated in its 2016 manifesto.

The NDC 2016 manifesto tagged: “Changing lives and Transforming Ghana,” the party said if retained in power, it would implement a graduation programme that identifies vulnerable persons to be trained and empowered to own their own businesses.

The analysis of the NDC manifesto is captured under the Ghana News Agency project “GNA Tracks Elections 2016,” which seeks to educate the electorate on the various issues raised by political parties, elections management body and other governance bodies.

The GNA Tracks Elections 2016 project also seeks to ensure gender and social inclusion in national politics and also provide voice for the youth, vulnerable groups, opinion leaders and broader spectrum of the society to contribute to peaceful elections.

The GNA Tracks Elections 2016 project has also created a platform to analyse the manifestos of all political parties and provide in-depth news item on each thematic area as captured to the electorates for them to make an informed judgment.

The NDC 2016 manifesto under the specific headline: “Consolidating Social Protection,” said social protection has remained an integral part of the broad social development policy of the NDC.

It aims to advance the livelihood of the vulnerable in the society including women, children, persons with disability, indigents and the aged.

The Party explained that under its new mandate it would develop an enhanced national household registry that identifies vulnerable persons and extremely poor persons for support; increase the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) beneficiary households to 350,000.

The Party said artisanal fishing communities, coastal and inland and deprived inner city communities including zongos would not only be targeted for the LEAP but would also be one of the earliest beneficiaries of the Progressively Free Senior High School intervention.

It also works to ensure substantial transformation of these communities under the Economic Transformation and Livelihood Empowerment Programme.

The NDC noted that under a renew mandate it would improve access to quality healthcare by continuing to register vulnerable persons including indigents, kayayei, prisoners, aged persons and persons with disability on the National Health Insurance Scheme; and pursue the passage of the Aged Bill as well as the Social Protection Bill.

The Party said it would also improve the targeting of social protection interventions to cater for excluded groups such as out-of-school children, child-headed households, people with severe disabilities, lepers and the aged and urban poor.

The NDC said it would continue the empowerment of “kayayei” head porters by extending the 1,000 pilot Out-of-School (Kayayei) Yes Empowerment Authority Programme to cover 10,000 kayayei even as we work to provide them with alternative livelihood opportunities.

“We will continue the process of registering all 1.7million pupils in school-feeding schools on the…NHIS; expand the coverage of Elderly Persons Welfare Card (EBAN), to enable more of the aged have preferential access to banking services, hospitals and free metro mass transit bus rides,” the Party stated.

The Party said it would upgrade the EBAN card into an electronic card for financial transactions; introduce a Special Economic Scheme for Senior Citizens under which vulnerable senior citizens above 65 years who are not on any formal pension scheme will be granted a bi-monthly stipend by the State.

The next NDC government would offer special assistance for the education of students with special-needs including, but not limited to, schools for the blind, deaf, autism and cerebral palsy.

It would also introduce motorised transport (tricycles) for physically challenged persons; demonstration models would be presented to the National Federation of Disabled Persons for evaluation.

The NDC said an additional 30 per cent increase of the District Assemblies Common Fund reserved for Persons with Disability to cater for their free NHIS subscription.

On its achievement under the social protection initiatives over the past four years the NDC said the government was the first hit the Millennium Development Goal target of halving extreme poverty two years ahead of the 2015 deadline; launched the National Social Protection Policy; and finalised a Social Protection Bill.

It also launched the National Targeting Unit to develop the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) database and Management Information System (MIS); and increased the LEAP beneficiary households from 71,000 in January 2013 to 146,074 in June 2016.

Increased the proportion of the District Assemblies Common Fund allocated to

Persons with Disability by 50 per cent as well as proposed amendments to the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) to make it consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

The NDC said over the past four years it developed a draft on Ghana Accessibility Standards on the built environment in collaboration with the Ghana Standards

Authority to facilitate access for persons with disability; and introduced EBAN to 10,526 elderly persons above 65 years to provide 50 per cent rebate on Metro Mass transport fare for the elderly.

The EBAN card also provides priority access to all social services, transport terminals, hospitals and banks; finalised the National Ageing Bill for submission to Parliament.

The NDC said as part of its achievement’s it has register more than 92,000 people comprising 11,000 prisoners, more than 10,000 Persons with Disability, more than 10,000 elderly persons, 60,000 LEAP beneficiaries and 1,000 Kayayei free of charge on the NHIS.

The NDC said it provided LEAP support for inmates of witches camps, state orphanages and leprosaria; set up coordinated gender-based response centres at Mallam Atta and Agbogbloshie markets to provide counseling services, humanitarian and psycho-social support to Kayayei and other vulnerable market women.

The NDC has strengthened the gender legal framework through Affirmative Action Bill; Intestate Succession (Amendment) Bill; Property Rights of Spouses Bill; Human Trafficking Legislative Instrument; and Domestic Violence Legislative Instrument.

It launched the National Gender Policy to mainstream Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment into Ghana’s development efforts; Granted educational scholarships to more than 300 girls and trained them in masonry and spraying mechanics and launched the first Government Shelter for abused women and children.

The NDC government also shut down the witches’ camp at Bonyase in the Northern Region; and provided free NHIS registration for over 800 inmates of witches’ camps.