The government is to review the payment strategy under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, to reduce cost of implementing the scheme, and ensure value for money.
This is necessary due to current economic challenges, and increased cost associated with Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) which go to urban communities to pay money to beneficiaries.
The Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Francisca Oteng Mensah, disclosed these at a two-day workshop, organised by the LEAP Management Secretariat (LMS), on the theme: “Improving the Payment Process of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme,” in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region.
The event brought together stakeholders from national and sub-national levels, including Regional and District Social Welfare Officers, representatives from the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) and Local Government Service.
The participants met to develop workable strategies that will enable LEAP beneficiaries to receive their cash grants, by visiting available banks and other agency networks without facing difficulties.
The Deputy Minister said there was the need to improve the programme’s payment mechanism, by identifying alternative means for beneficiaries to access their grants while the programme worked towards reducing cost of implementation.
Ms Mensah stated that the LEAP programme has since 2015 implemented electronic payment to beneficiaries using the e-zwich platform managed by GhIPSS.
She stressed that the process had placed extra cost on the programme, hence the need for a review of the payment mechanism.
Ms Mensah reiterated government’s commitment to reducing vulnerability and improving living standards of extremely poor households through the LEAP social cash transfer.
She commended the participants for availing themselves to develop a strategy that would empower beneficiaries to receive their cash grants from available banks and other agency networks closer to them.
The Deputy Minister said that the role of participants and partners towards achieving the goal and objective of the programme was vital.
The Head of the LEAP Programme, Dr Myles Ongoh, said the secretariat of LEAP was focused on fostering idea sharing and collaboration, to make the programme more effective.
He said that his outfit was not leaving any stone unturned to improve the LEAP payment mechanism.
Dr Ongoh said after empowering beneficiaries to receive their grants from the banks, the secretariat would see to it that beneficiaries are resourced to receive their grants using mobile money.