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LEAP beneficiaries to receive $42m World Bank support

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Some beneficiaries of LEAP going through the NHIS registration process
Some beneficiaries of LEAP going through the NHIS registration process

The government will begin the disbursement of a GH¢42 million World Bank grant to direct beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme after the Easter festivities.

The grant is to help the government settle two cycles of payments, which are in arrears, to the most vulnerable in the society captured under the cash hand-out programme.

An Assistant Director at the LEAP National Secretariat, Dr Myles Ongoh, who made this known to the Daily Graphic in an interview last Tuesday, said about 344,786 households with about 1.5 million individual beneficiaries would receive the payments.

He said officials from the secretariat would begin the disbursement from April 18 till April 22, this year.

Disbursement

Beneficiary households receive different amounts of money, depending on the number of eligible household members.

For instance, a household with only one eligible member receives GH¢64; two eligible members from one household receive GH¢76, while three eligible members from the same household are offered GH¢88.

Households with four or more eligible members receive GH¢106.

Dr Ongoh explained that the payment structure of the programme was designed in a way that discouraged beneficiaries from being adamant in pursuing alternative sources of income.

He said the programme was to reduce poverty by smoothening consumption and promoting human capital development among extremely poor households in the country.

He expressed appreciation to all the donors bankrolling the programme, including the World Bank, UNICEF, DFID and the World Food Programme for their enormous support.

Vulnerability

Presently, the LEAP cash support programme has been in arrears for months and has been a source of concern for civil society organisations focusing on social protection interventions in the country.

The programme involves the distribution of grants to individuals and households living in extreme poverty and has been running since 2008.

It caters for some 334,084 households across the country with about 750,000 eligible Ghanaians on the waiting list.

Beneficiaries of the programme have, over the years, been seeking an improvement of the intervention which has now become the lifeline for some families in extremely poor areas.

To help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on beneficiaries, the LEAP programme provided an additional one-off round of cash transfers for beneficiaries in May 2020.

Unable to distribute cash transfers at community sites, the programme relied on contactless transfers.

The beneficiaries used electronic benefit transfer cards to withdraw cash from ATMs, with LEAP providing a top-up benefit of GH¢10 for urban beneficiaries and GH¢20 for rural beneficiaries to help defray the cost of transportation to banks.