The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is to begin payment to more than 77,006 beneficiaries under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme (LEAP) from November 17 to November 21.

The 33rd LEAP cycle of payment is estimated to cover the beneficiaries from 103 districts in the 10 regions across the country.

Mr John Alexander Ackon, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social explained that the payment is based on three categories of extreme poor beneficiaries.

He said beneficiaries include those who are 60 years and above but extremely poor, orphaned but vulnerable persons with disability without productive capability.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra to announce the payment procedure, Mr Ackon said each beneficiary is paid an amount based on the categories they fall within.

He said beneficiaries receive cash amount of GH? 48.00; GH? 60.00; GH? 72.00 or GH? 90.00; adding that the Ministry has successfully undertaken regular six cycles of electronic LEAP payment to its beneficiaries in eight districts.

Mr Ackon said the Gender Ministry employed the services of MTN, AYA Technologies and Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement systems to assist in the electronic payment process to beneficiaries at various pay points.

The Deputy Gender Minister said the electronic payment is the Ministry?s innovation in the cash transfer programme aimed at reducing transaction cost, ensuring faster payments and reconciliation after payment, reducing waiting and travel times for beneficiaries as well as promoting and supporting the trend of cashless transactions.

He said the programme, which started in 21 districts in 2008 now covers 103 districts as at September 2014 noting that as at now, all outstanding arrears of LEAP grant payments have been paid.

The number of beneficiary household has also been expanded to cover an additional 23,000 for the 34th cycle.

Mr Ackon also explained that a significant number of 8,011 with disability household currently are something from the cash grant transfer programme.

The Ministry is expanding the legibility criteria of the LEAP programme by adding pregnant women and infants in extreme poor households under a ?leap 1000 initiatives?.

He said the intervention to prevent stunting, underweight and general mal-nutrition amongst children during the first one 1000 days of their lives to take off in 10 districts in the northern sector.

He said government under the National Social Protection Strategy is implementing a number of pro-poor interventions through the Ministry.

To this end the Ministry is in the process of establishing a national targeting system unit to develop a national single registry database of the extreme poor and vulnerable to be called the Ghana National Household Registry, he explained.

Mr Dzigbordi Kofi Agbekpornu, LEAP Programme Manager said there are a total of 880,000 extreme poor persons living in the country.


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