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Regional News of Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Source: GNA

Social protection is not handouts package – Gender Ministry

Mr Kwesi Armo-Himbson, Chief Director Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Monday debunked the perception that promoting social protection in Ghana amounted to offering handouts to beneficiaries which will encourage laziness.

The various social protection interventions by government is rather a lifeline offered to the beneficiaries…“We are committed in using Social Protection to break inter-generational cycle of poverty,” Mr Armo-Himbson told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.

He said the social protection policy emanates from the 1992 Constitution which aims at a socially just and inclusive society for all.

It provides a basis for social protection, particularly the Directive Principles of State Policy; Article 35 Clauses 3, 4 and 5 provide for just and reasonable access of all citizens to all public facilities and services; and cultivation amongst all Ghanaians respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the dignity of the human person.

It also integrates the people of Ghana and prohibition of discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, birth circumstances, ethnic origin, gender, religion, creed and other beliefs.

He explained that the economic impacts of social protection can be classified based on household asset formation, and on the labour market participation of its members and local economy impacts.

He said the objective of which focuses on Human Development, Productivity and Employment as captured in the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II (2014-2017) is “a knowledgeable, well-trained, disciplined, highly productive, and healthy population with the capacity to drive and sustain the socio-economic transformation of the country over the long-term”.

Mr Armo-Himbson noted that the pursuit of these objectives should not be compromised by the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment and underemployment.

He said women, children, persons with disabilities and children bear the brunt of the triple challenges disproportionately.

He said as indicated by the creation of a dedicated Ministry of cabinet status for social protection; a cabinet memorandum requiring a social protection policy; and inclusion of social protection actions in the national medium term plan for 2014 to 2017, the government has signaled its commitment to the implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated social protection system.

He said given the economic prospects, delaying action on poverty and inequality is not a feasible option. While the limited fiscal space may be a constraining factor in the short term, addressing the challenges of poverty and inequality should be considered a crucial part of Ghana’s development strategy.

“Therefore, consideration must be given to creating the necessary fiscal space to support the reform and improve reliable and sustained spending on social protection,” Mr Armo-Himbson stated.

Mr Armo-Himbson explained that the Social Protection Policy takes cognizance of the existing policies and programmes whose provisions have implications for the effective delivery of social protection.

“This has facilitated policy coherence and reduced overlaps and contradictions. The national social protection policy also provides a framework within which complementary policies can be located,” he said.

He said it is also complemented by two secondary policies - the School Feeding Policy and the Labour Intensive Public Works Policy.

Other important, cross-sectoral national policies which have implications for social protection includes: the Child and Family Welfare Policy of 2014; the National Gender Policy, 2014; the National Youth Policy, 2010; the National Ageing Policy 2010; and the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) of 2014.

The rest are the National Environmental Policy (NEP) of 2014; the National HIV/AIDs and STI Policy; the National Decentralization Policy; and the National Local Economic Development Policy.

The Chief Director of the Gender Minister therefore called for national support whilst urging corporate Ghana to step-up corporate social responsibility role which feeds into government’s social protection policy.

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