The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGSCP) has rolled out a pilot electronic payment system for the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme in nine districts.
The pilot, which is being implemented by three electronic payment service providers, MTN Ghana, Ghana Interbank Payments Systems Solutions (GIPSS) and Aya Technologies, is expected to benefit 7,616 households in nine districts.
The districts are Saboba in the Northern Region, Nzema East in the Western Region, Kwahu West in the Eastern Region and Ga South in the Greater Accra Region.
The rest are Asante Akim North in the Ashanti Region, Zabzugu/Tatale and West Gonja in the Northern Region, Techiman in the Brong Ahafo and Keta in the Volta Region.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, made this known to the Daily Graphic in Accra before the ministry began the payment of the 2013 arrears of allowances on Thursday, January 30, 2014.
LEAP, a social intervention programme that involves the provision of cash transfers and health insurance to the poorest households in the country, is targeted at people who have no alternative means of meeting their subsistence needs and have limited productive capacity.
So far, the programme caters for 99 districts in the ten regions of Ghana, and the ministry hopes to increase the number of beneficiary districts in future and also increase the number of vulnerable people who benefit from the programme from 74,347 to 150,000 by December 2014.
Nana Oye said “we believe that as the LEAP helps individuals to provide for their basic needs, get access to education, health and food, the number of people who will need capital to start small-scale business ventures for sustainable income and the elimination of poverty will be reduced.”
She said as part of efforts to ensure efficiency and cost reduction, the cash payments were being migrated to electronic payments.
According to Nana Oye, “to ensure that the LEAP programme meets its objectives and ensure that state resources are utilised judiciously and effectively, we have developed a monitoring and evaluation system.”
She said a recent evaluation carried out on LEAP unravelled the positive impact of the programme on income, education, health, production and the local economy, saying that the monitoring and evaluation framework would help provide vital evidence of progress for assessment, as well as provide the basis for the improvements and expansion of the LEAP programme.
Also, she said “we are establishing a national targeting office within the ministry to help us better identify persons in need of social protection in Ghana,” adding that “we are also implementing the national aging policy and have, for the first time, created a desk for the elderly at our ministry.”