Civil society actors are calling for an independent secretariat that addresses issues on social protection in Ghana.
The civil society organizations say there was the need to de-politicize social protection issues that offered a stronger legal framework for the benefit of the vulnerable in society.
The issues came up at a meeting organized by Civil Society Platform for Social Protection – Ghana and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to solicit inputs and look at strategies to advocate the passage of Ghana’s Social Protection Bill.
Social protection covers the range of policies and programmes needed to reduce the lifelong consequences of poverty and exclusion.
Dr Stephen Afranie, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, took participants through the proposed Social Protection Bill, calling on civil society organizations to work together to ensure the passage of the bill into law.
He noted that Ghana had implemented some Social Protection initiatives since independence, but the policies were usually scattered and made monitoring difficult.
Dr Afranie mentioned the Free Senior High School programme, the Metro Mass Transit buses, National Health Insurance Scheme and the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty Programme (LEAP) among others as some social protection programmes that had benefitted various vulnerable groups in Ghana.
Among the recommendations in the proposed Social Protection Bill is the need for the government to extend social protection programmes to cover caregivers of beneficiary groups especially persons with disabilities and the aged.
Participants at the workshop agreed to engage in advocacy that aims at improving the lives of the vulnerable in society
Mr David Norden Botwe, Chairman of the Civil Society Platform for Social Protection – Ghana, said the goal for social protection must aim at lifting people out of poverty and making them productive citizens.
Once adopted the law will provide a legal, regulatory and financial framework to secure social protection for Ghana’s most vulnerable population.