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Gender Ministry to disburse 49th cycle of LEAP payments

By
Christabel Addo-GNA

Accra, July 24, GNA –
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, would from July 31,
begin the disbursement of the 49th cycle of payment to beneficiaries of the
Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme.

The LEAP Programme,
which was introduced in 2008, seeks to address extreme poverty and reduce the
suffering of vulnerable and disadvantaged persons, and this has since become a
lifeline to a great number of people, making the difference between empty
stomachs and food for the family.

Madam Otiko Afisah
Djaba, the Minster of Gender, Children and Social Protection, at a press
briefing in Accra on Monday, said during the payment cycle, which would end on
August 4, 213,044 beneficiary households in all the 216 districts of the
country would be paid their LEAP grants.

She said under the
LEAP one-eligible household member would receive GH₵64.00, while a two-member
family receives GH₵76.00, with three-member and those with four or more members
would receive GH₵88.00 and GH₵106.00.

She said all the
beneficiaries of the LEAP Programme would be paid electronically, using the
e-zwich platform provided by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems
(GhIPSS), through Participating Financial Institutions.

Madam Otiko said
because the e-zwich payment platform required biometric fingerprint
verification of beneficiaries for payment to be effected, it reduced fiduciary
risk and promoted greater efficiency and accountability.

She however said the
Ministry had not authorized any individuals or organisations to register people
online or anywhere, and therefore warned the public against such activities and
getting trapped.

“ No LEAP beneficiary
should be charged or deducted any amount as serve charge,” she warned.

Madam Otiko said the
LEAP was an efficient economic opportunity that stimulated
micro-entrepreneurship in the building of social capital for moving extremely
poor people out of poverty.

It offered not only
the opportunity to improve on food consumption, but also increased enrolment
and retention in educational institutions, and had succeeded in the nationwide
registration of the more than 90, 000 household members free-of-charge onto the
National Health Insurance Scheme.

This, she said ensured
that members of the LEAP households received better healthcare and another
chance to live healthier and more fulfilled lives.

She said the Programme
also created an opportunity for widening the capital base of the local economy
by directly putting money in the hands of beneficiaries, which inevitably
increase their purchasing power and grow the economy.

Madam Otiko said in
accordance with the President’s vision beyond aid and Ghanaians controlling
their own destiny, its policy directive was focused on Productive Inclusion, so
that LEAP becomes a ‘hand up’, and not a handout.

She explained that the
Productive Inclusion system, had been designed to assist LEAP beneficiaries or
caregivers with the innate desire to work, saying, the assistance was
non-monetary, but rather a transfer of skills that reflected the capacity of
the local economy.

She said the training
included basket weaving, beads making, processing of sheabutter, tailoring,
hair dressing and secretarial services, adding that through the initiative the
LEAP programme would effectively become an economic conveyor belt.

She said the
Productive Inclusion as a social policy directive, sought to give beneficiaries
the opportunity for change and an agenda for jobs.  

GNA

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