A senior lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Felix Amakye, has called on Parliament to expedite the passage of the Social Protection Bill to give strong legal backing to the implementation of social intervention policies.
He said for any social programme to be successful, there was the need for legal backing to help effective resource mobilisation, disbursement and utilisation.
Such a bill, he also said, would curb corruption and delay the release of funds for those interventions.
“The implementation of social programmes is fraught with challenges and it is time we got a consolidated social protection law to ensure that they are implemented in a coherent and well-coordinated manner,” he stated.
At the social accountability and economic justice clearing platform forum 2022 in Accra yesterday[August 23,2022], Mr Amakye said, “Without a Social Protection Bill, it makes accountability very weak,”
“For a policy implementation that has little legal backing, you can smell the angle of corruption within that framework which will be extremely difficult to manage, but when you have the law it tackles issues about procurement, mobilisation and disbursement of resources and also provides the citizens the opportunity to demand real accountability,” he said.
He stated that when he presented the health, education, resource equity (HERE) research report carried out from April to May 2022.
Here and Now project
The research examined the citizens’ level of awareness of selected social protection interventions and identified challenges affecting the implementation of those social interventions.
It also aimed at strengthening citizens’ ability to hold state and corporate actors to account and make economic development work for the poor.
The research was carried out in Central Gonja District in the Savannah Region, Juaben Municipality in the Ashanti Region, and Accra Metropolitan in the Greater Accra Region.
It was jointly funded by the Penplusbytes and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), both non-profit organisations.
Mr Amakye said whenever there was a gap in terms of how resources for social interventions were mobilised and disbursed, it reflected the sheer lack of answerability on the part of public officials and the discharge of their responsibilities.
“For us, we believe strongly that we should get a law in place to be able to push for effective accountability.
“This bill will ensure that social protection policies are implemented in a manner that reduces lapses and corruption to give people the assurance that their taxes and rights to good living are being upheld by these interventions,” he said.
Presenting the outcome of the research, he said about 96.2 per cent of the respondents said they were aware of the NHIS, 87 per cent were aware of the Mental Health Act, with an overwhelming number of respondents (2.1 per cent) not being aware of the GALOP programme.
Relevance of policies
On the relevance of social protection programmes, he said a majority of the respondents agreed that social protection policies were still relevant to the development and protection of the people’s well-being.
For School Feeding Programme, he said about 88 per cent of the respondents indicated that it was relevant, with 31.8 per cent indicating that the LEAP was not achieving its goals and 45.5 per cent not being so sure “we are achieving the goals.”
Giving an overview of the CSOs Social Protection Mirror Report 2022, which was carried out in 10 regions to assess citizens’ perspectives on social protection delivery in Ghana in July 2022, the Programme Officer of SEND Ghana, Dr Isaac Kwakye, said it was discovered that spending on social protection in terms of gross domestic product was less than one per cent.