A research report by the Institute of Statistics Social and Economic Research (ISSER) has called for an increase in the amount of cash transfers to Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP) beneficiaries.
It said since the beneficiaries were complaining that the amount given to them was not enough, there could be an upward adjustment at least every two years.
Professor Peter Quartey, Director, ISSER, made these recommendations on the side-lines of a key stakeholders’ validation workshop, organised by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, and the World Food Programme on Women’s access to Digital Financial Inclusion and Desk Review of LEAP Cash Transfer Programme in Ghana.
The desk review was conducted by ISSER to assess women’s empowerment and Digital Financial (DFI) Inclusion within the LEAP programme, assess the impact of the LEAP, identify, document gaps, provide key areas for further support especially capacity strengthening and provide key recommendations.
LEAP is a cash transfer introduced by the Government in 2008 for extremely poor and vulnerable households to reduce poverty.
Currently, 344,023 households, made up of 1.5 million people, benefit from the programme.
Every two months, the Government through the LEAP programme provides grant support between GHS64 and GHS106 to beneficiaries for their upkeep.
Prof. Quartey said the increment was necessary due to the current economic situation and inflation of prices in the country, which had affected prices of goods and services.
The report also recommended that Government could consider doubling current cash transfer amount every five years due to constant price hikes in the country.
He noted that although the amount was inadequate, some of them were able to trade and bring value to it.
‘‘Beneficiaries are happy about the programme and say it is better than having nothing at all,’’ he added.
He underscored the need for the expansion of the means of reaching out to the beneficiaries.
“The problem they have is sometimes when you use MOMO, some use mobile phone numbers that are not theirs but relatives, so when you transfer the money, it does not get to the intended beneficiary,” he said.
The report recommended that periodic town hall meetings be held in catchment communities to explain the programme to residents, particularly beneficiaries, and to educate them and close relations they relied on to assist them with such transactions about electronic transaction fraud.
Reverend Professor Adobea Owusu, immediate past Head of Social Division, ISSER, said the report revealed that there had been an increase in school enrollment by 7 percentage points among secondary school children, before the introduction of the Free Senior High School initiative.
The report said there had been an increase in female attendance which had the potential to increase DFI as the gender divide in education closed, with reduction in grade repetition and absenteeism.
She said LEAP had promoted women’s economic and social empowerment, as well as social inclusion since beneficiaries were able to rejoin and strengthen their roles in social networks and community consequently, improving their social status, self-esteem and increased satisfaction with life.
The report indicated that beneficiaries frequented health facilities more and were able to afford medications of the sick and elderly.
It said, there had been improvement in their livelihoods, including children’s nutrition, quality and quantity of food, use of health care, and reduced poverty.
The report revealed that there had been increased savings of caregivers with 11 per cent of beneficiaries more likely to save their money than non-beneficiaries.
According to the report, there had also been an increased accumulation of agricultural and non-agricultural assets by beneficiaries.