By Mohammed Suleman
The Institute for Fiscal Policy(IFP), an affiliate of the Integrated Social Development Centre(ISODEC), has commended the government for increasing the beneficiary household for the livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty(LEAP) programme from 150, 000 to 250,000 in the 2016 Budget, but wants Government to sharpen its tools of targeting.
Mrs Charlotte Esenam Afudego, Policy Analyst at the Institute, told Public Agenda in an interview that in as much as it was commendable to increase the beneficiary households, Government should sharpen its tools for targeting so that the right people could get access to the cash and that would go a long way to reduce poverty and promote developmental goals.
Mrs Afudego said, “We all see the LEAP playing an important role; but we should think of how many poor people are left out there. We should know the number of the poor as recorded by the Ghana Statistical Service and do proper targeting.”
For her, the issue of the LEAP should go beyond just giving cash to the poor to also focusing on addressing the economic and structural needs of women especially when it comes to access to land, credit , health water and all other services for that matter.
She was worried that most Government’s programmes and policies in the area of social protection were scattered, hence there were incoherent .
She added, “So the main thing we are recommending now is that Government should have a bigger development framework where all issues of social protection policies can be teased out of them, because the social, economic and the industrial sectors play a vital role. The social sector should be at the flip side of the industrial sector and for that matter these two can help to achieve much growth and development.”
She noted that the 2016 Budget did not cater much for the agricultural sector which ironically employed so many Ghanaians.
“So we realised that predominantly more people are engaged in the agricultural sector but the 2016 Budget reflected some kind of decline in growth projection for the agric sector. The three main sectors that draws so much growth to the economy are the agric sector, industry and services, but we see that in this year’s budget agric has declined massively.”
Mrs Afudego advocated that the oil proceeds should be used as a catalyst for investing so much in the agriculture sector so that it would help generate the needed employment .
Touching on the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs), Mrs Afudego noted that though it was stated and clearly outlined in the budget , the linkage to the required resources was not mentioned. Therefore, the budget, she stressed, did not provide any take off for the Sustainable Development Goals to start.
The SDGs are an inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating to international development. They follow on from the Millennium Development Goals and build on the sustainable development agenda that was finalised by member states during the Rio +20 Summit.
The SDGs contain 17 goals with 169 targets, covering a broad range of sustainable development issues. These included ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.