Scores of beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) in the Assin North Municipality have hailed government for its commitment to sustain and improve the life-saving programme.
Beaming with smiles and praising the effort of government, they said, the programme was central to government’s efforts at eradicating poverty and upholding the lives and dignity of vulnerable groups across the country.
The LEAP programme is a social intervention programme aimed at aiding families with orphans, vulnerable children, the aged and the very poor with cash handouts to sustain themselves.
It also caters for people with special diseases such as fistula, autism, cerebral palsy, cancer and haemophilia patients with bi-monthly stipends to caregivers of the qualified residents to support their livelihood.
The beneficiaries said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during a biometric registration exercise to integrate their data unto the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform through the e-zwich cards to ease manual payments challenges at Assin Fosu on Tuesday.
Madam Agnes Bawa, a LEAP beneficiary, said her monthly stipends have greatly helped her family to buy drugs and other medical expenses to sustain the life of her aged father.
She said “my family is grateful to the government for including my father. The money has supported us in buying drugs which has relieved us of the enormous financial strain on the family”.
Mr Habibe Abdul Paintsil, another beneficiary, said the programme has improved the healthcare of many of his aged beneficiaries, affording them the opportunity to access quality healthcare after being registered unto the National Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Mr Kweku Ofori, who could not hide his joy for the intervention, proposed a clear-cut exit strategy for beneficiaries and urged them not to be unduly reliant on long-term aid projects but “be innovative and productive with their monies to sustain themselves”.
Some other beneficiaries called on government to find more reliable and sustainable means of financing the programme to aid its rapid expansion to cover more beneficiaries across the country.
“This bold initiative must be well structured to enable beneficiaries strike out to lead an independent life to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods,” they said.
They also called for the depoliticization of the programme, devoid of political manipulations and colouration.
Mr Okine Mustapha Aryee, the Municipal Social Welfare and Community Development Officer, said the move was part of a grand strategy by government to rope -in more Ghanaians especially all vulnerable groups into the banking sector to propel its quest to promote a cashless economy.
In all, a total of 900 households representing 1,800 beneficiaries from 23 communities benefited from the exercise to receive the monthly stipend of GH¢64.00, GH¢76.00, GH¢ 88.00 and GH¢106.00 for one, two, three and four plus households.
The Municipal Social Welfare and Community Development Officer said more than GH¢72,436.00 have been disbursed to beneficiaries since January 2018.