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Business News of Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Source: classfmonline.com

LEAP to pay 148K households

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme under the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection is set to begin its 42nd payment cycle.

The LEAP grants for March and April 2016 are expected to be given to a total of one hundred and forty-seven thousand, nine hundred and one (147,901) beneficiary households in 185 districts.

During the payment period, a one-member household will receive GHS64.00, the two-member household will receive GHS 76.00 while a three-member household will receive GHS 88.00; and a four-member household or more will receive GHS106.00.

The LEAP social intervention programme was introduced by the Government of Ghana to support vulnerable and extremely poor households to meet their basic needs for survival.

A statement issued by the LEAP Programme Secretariat on Wednesday, March 23 indicated that all LEAP beneficiaries would be paid electronically nationwide, using the E-zwich platform of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System.

The use of the E-zwich platform is meant to offer beneficiaries a greater control over the management of their funds, as they will have the opportunity to decide when to access funds, unlike the manual payment system.

The E-payment system will also deliver an efficient and timely generation of payment reports for the LEAP programme.

Officials of the Ministry, as well as the Department of Social Development and the LEAP Secretariat, will both monitor the payments at the district and community levels during the period.

The programme has also introduced other complementary programmes including the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) project.

The JSDF project being implemented under the Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP) seeks to provide livelihood support through skills training in soap making, kente and basket weaving, among other skills, to LEAP beneficiary household members, who have the capacity to work in some selected districts of the Upper East Region.

LEAP beneficiary households are also linked to the Labour-Intensive Public Work (LIPW) Project also under GSOP.

Under this initiative, able-bodied members in LEAP households are targeted for labour-intensive works in construction activities (feeder road construction, construction of small dam facilities and climate change interventions) in their communities where they earn additional income to boost their earnings.

The LEAP programme has also facilitated the registration of LEAP beneficiaries with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and will soon scale up NHIS registration for beneficiaries nationwide.

Meanwhile, the LEAP programme is currently embarking on an expansion exercise in electronic data enumeration to enrol additional 50,000 beneficiary households targeted at achieving 250,000 beneficiary households by December 2016.

According to research conducted between 2014 and 2015 by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), 40% of LEAP beneficiaries use the cash grant to take care of the educational needs of their children. 76% of beneficiaries reported that the LEAP cash grant helped them to access healthcare and 80% of beneficiaries reported that they used their cash grants to purchase agricultural inputs.

The programme, according to the Ministry, will continue to pursue practical measures that will ensure that all vulnerable persons are covered and extreme poverty is significantly reduced.