Government, through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has topped-up grants of beneficiaries under its Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to enable them to purchase basic COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
The top-up was due to the change in the mode of payment of the beneficiaries as a result of the social distancing measures instituted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In view of the COVID-19 preventive protocols, beneficiaries are to visit banks and cash points to access grant, instead of the usual mode of disbursement through LEAP payment points.
According to the Gender Ministry, the top-up was to enable beneficiaries to purchase face masks, hand sanitizers and reduce the burden on the cost of transportation to the banks.
Mr Myles Ongoh, Assistant Director of the LEAP Programme, Ministry of Gender an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra explained that one eligible member of the LEAP beneficiaries would receive GH¢64.00, two eligible member households would receive GH¢76.00, while three eligible member households would receive GH¢88.00 and four or more, GH¢106.00.
For the transportation, LEAP beneficiaries from rural communities received a top-up of GH¢20.00 and GH¢7.00 for urban communities and all households are also given a flat top-up (for both urban and rural communities) of GH¢10.00, he said.
Mr Ongoh said: “We would want to express our gratitude to the Gender Minister, Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison for making issues of vulnerability and disability dear to her heart and insisting that we do the right thing with our proposals, and readily ensuring that these beneficiaries are paid their monies”.
The Assistant Director also thanked the development partners of the programme – World Bank, the Department for International Development, and UNICEF for their support in ensuring that MoGCSP achieved most of its objectives.
Mr Colson Akanbasiam, Head of Communications of the LEAP Programme, said the District Social Welfare Officers, would ensure the successful implementation of the changes.
He said the officers were tasked to sensitise beneficiaries and were available to provide them with sensitisation materials at the banking halls and hand washing areas to support in the efforts to mitigate COVID-19.
He explained that the LEAP programme, as part of measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on its beneficiaries, paid them two months of their grants during the period of restriction of movement.
He said the secretariat also embarked on field monitoring to ensure that staff of the LEAP Management dealing directly with the beneficiaries adhere strictly to the safety protocols and gave the beneficiaries the amounts due.
The LEAP, implemented in 2008 by the MoGCSP, is a soft-conditional cash transfer programme to reduce poverty by smoothening consumption and promoting human capital development among extremely poor households.
Beneficiaries of the intervention are orphans and vulnerable children, persons aged 65 and above without support, persons with a severe disability who cannot work, and extremely poor pregnant women with infants (under one year).