Accra, May 5, GNA — SEND GHANA, a subsidiary of SEND Foundation of West Africa has called on the Government to pay arrears of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP) beneficiaries.
A statement signed by Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, Country Director of SEND GHANA, and copied the Ghana News Agency, said the organization had observed with deep regrets, recent delays in payments of cash grants to beneficiaries of the LEAP across the country.
The statement said the Government combined the 69th and 70th cycle payments to beneficiaries in January 2021 reaching a little over 335,000 poor households.
“However, the 71st cycle payment, which was due in March has not been paid. The 72nd cycle payment is also fast approaching. Payment will be due in the third week of May, suggesting that the government will most likely owe beneficiary households two-cycle payments i.e., four months grant,” it said.
The statement said undoubtedly, the erratic payments of grants affected the consumption pattern of beneficiaries and impacted negatively on their livelihoods already exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement said a survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) on the impact of COVID 19 on the social and economic lives of Ghanaians, for example, revealed that approximately 22 million Ghanaians were affected by reduced household income.
It said 77 per cent of households reported to be severely affected by an increase in prices of food, and more than half (52 per cent) of households had experienced reduced food consumption.
The statement said amid the rampant economic hardships, new taxes had been imposed, further leading to an increase in the cost of living among the average Ghanaian worker.
“Yet poor and vulnerable people who rely on the LEAP cash transfers have not been prioritized by the government. This, without question, denies beneficiaries of their fundamental right to social protection and for that matter decent living,” the statement said.
It said SEND GHAHA underscored the importance of social safety nets as a critical tool in protecting the poor and vulnerable from the impacts of economic meltdown.
Therefore, any anomaly that impeded the smooth delivery of social protection, especially, during moments of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be aggressively addressed.
SEND GHANA wishes to remind the government of its social contract with the people and its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 -No Poverty, 2 -Zero Hunger, and 10 -Reduced Inequalities by 2030.”
“The government must take immediate steps to release funds for the 71st cycle payment to beneficiaries to help them meet their basic household consumption. We further call on the government to shift from an observed trend of delaying cash transfers and combining two-cycle payments as against the established practice of paying bi monthly. In light of this, we hope that the 72nd payment cycle, which is due in the third week of this month (May) will not be missed,” it said.