Faith-based organisation called to join social protection advocacy

Elsie Appiah-Osei/ Julius K Satsi/ Janet Zeylisa Dauda, GNA

Accra, July 18, GNA – A
multi-stakeholder conference on financing social protection has been held with
a call on faith-based organisations to play active role in advocating and
working towards the improvement of social protection financing.

Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba,
the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, who made the call in
Accra on Tuesday, said the issue of social protection financing was key to the
sustainable development in the country.

“There is no need to
deny the closeness between the strength of the social protection systems and
the sustainable development attainment of the country,” she said.

representatives from the Parliament, Ministry of Finance, UNICEF, the media and
other Civil Society Organisations at the conference on the theme: “Financing
Social Protection to Reduce Inequality”, Ms Djaba observed that social
protection was a vital component of every nation building and required all
hands on deck to help position it well.

She said both child
labour and human trafficking were also a major problem confronting the country,
and there was the need to raise funds to conduct operations and provide shelter
for the rescued children.

This she said would
help serve as safe haven during reintegration processes.

“We as stakeholders
and donor partners should walk the talk to ensure effective financing of social
protection to reduce inequality.”

Ms Djaba explained
that the protection of the rights of the vulnerable was a collective
responsibility and that all stakeholders ought to play an effective role in
ensuring that issues of inequality extensively.

“The Ministry of
Gender, Children and Social Protection is engaging in flagship interventions,
which are identified under the National Social Protection Policy including the
National Health Insurance exemptions paving way for children, mental disorders
and the elderly to be exempted from paying contributions.” 

Mr Samuel Addei, the
Clerk of the Committee on Poverty Reduction in Parliament said the conference,
which brought stakeholders together to deliberate on practical ways of
financing social protection towards the reduction of inequality in Ghana, was

He said a recent
research in Ghana had demonstrated that both poverty and inequality could be
reduced by social protection programmes.

“This notwithstanding,
there are substantial challenges given that social protection programme
coverage is still limited, weak and under-resourced, with an average total
spending of 0.61 per cent of Gross Domestic Product between 2009 and 2014,” he

 “It is against this background that I find
this gathering very timely and useful, especially as it gives the opportunity
not only to strategically collate input into the development of the 2018
national budget influence allocations for social protection programmes but also
to brainstorm on a way forward with regard to finding sustainable financing for
social protection programmes in Ghana”.

He therefore called
for strategic partnership and collaboration between the committee and various
stakeholders engaged in social protection data generation, policy analysis as
well as the development of ideas to accelerate inclusive national economic

He entreated members
make input into the draft bill when it is sent to parliament to help create a
robust financing system for social protection programmes,

Mr George Osei-Bimpeh,
the Country Director of SEND-Ghana, organisers of the conference, said the
country had achieved some successes in drafting development policies that
promoted human progress, however, Ghana had since the 1990s seen the growth
inequality getting out of control.

He said the highest
level of inequality was registered in the Upper West region and it represented
the largest increase.

Mr Osei-Bimpeh noted
that lack of fund, irregular and unpredictable as well as inadequate
disbursement of resources towards the implementation of social protection
programmes was some of the inconsistencies that had made social protection to
be hindered in the country.

He called for
collaboration and coordination among key ministries, departments as wells as
agencies related to social intervention programmes. 

Mr Kwadwo Ansah, the
Principal Economics Officer at the Ministry of Finance noted that poverty and
income inequality appeared to be deeply rooted in the Northern region adding
that “Government spending on poverty reduction had increased significantly over
the years,” he added.


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