Non-governmental organization, Send Ghana, is asking the government to take immediate steps to release arrears for the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
According to Send Ghana, there have been delays in payments to beneficiaries, making it difficult for them to meet their basic household needs.
The LEAP program was introduced in 2008 by the government to provide financial support to extremely poor and vulnerable households.
Citing the recent economic hardships and the imposition of new taxes, which has led to an increase in the cost of living, Send Ghana wants the government to prioritize the poor who depend on the LEAP cash transfers.
In a statement, the group stated “the erratic payments of grants affect the consumption pattern of beneficiaries and impact negatively on their livelihoods, already exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
It said the 71st cycle payment, which was due in March, has not been paid, with the date for the 72nd cycle payment 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 which are four-month grants.
“Send Ghana observes with deep regret, recent delays in payments of cash grants to beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty program (LEAP) across the country. It is recalled that the government combined the 69th and 70th cycle payments to beneficiaries in January 2021, reaching a little over 335,000 poor households,” the release said.
According to Send Ghana, with rampant economic hardships, new taxes and an increase in the cost of living for the average Ghanaian worker, poor and vulnerable people who rely on the LEAP cash transfers have not been prioritized by the government.
The situation, it says, denies beneficiaries of their fundamental right to social protection and for that matter decent living.
“Send Ghana underscores the importance of social safety nets as a critical tool in protecting the poor and vulnerable against the impact of economic meltdown.”
“Therefore, any anomaly that impedes the smooth delivery of social protection, especially, during moments of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be aggressively addressed”, the statement concluded.