The World Bank has committed $100 million to support the Ghanaian government implement the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project 2 (GPSNP 2).
The pro-poor intervention program was initiated in 2022 and will end in 2025. The financial support which was at the request of the Ministry of Finance according to the Bank would aid in increasing Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) benefits and coverage as well as expanding to reach other important social protection programs.
These efforts, the Bank said, are key to aiding them in making gains in poverty alleviation and economic growth despite setbacks in the agenda, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection since the year 2019 had been implementing GPSNP.
It is a four-year IDA-financed project. It is said to have boosted the Government of Ghana’s social protection agenda.
The program according to available information had achieved a key milestone in reducing extreme poverty and is expected to end on 31st December 2022.
Speaking at the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project Learning Event in Accra at the behest of the World Bank, Mr. Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, said the World Bank takes a keen interest in social protection as it is at the heart of its work.
This, he said, is evidenced by the Bank’s twin goals to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
Mr. Laporte said since 2010, the Bank had consistently supported the Government of Ghana in its efforts to protect the poor and boost economic growth.
The support, he added, includes the Ghana Social Opportunity Project (GSOP) with US$138.6 million financial facility, the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project (GPSNP) with US$60 million financial support, and currently GPSNP 2 with US$ 100.
These interventions according to the World Bank Country Director have cumulatively reached over two million poor and vulnerable Ghanaians.
Hon. Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Deputy Minister and the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in her delivery said there are still groups of people who had been left behind and for whom social protection is still not a reality.
This group of people, she said, includes vulnerable workers in the informal sector such as child beggars, street vendors, and hawkers who had little or no protection in case of sickness, accidents, or pregnancy, and thousands of child labourers whose families are unable to afford the indirect costs of sending them to school.
She called on stakeholders in the social protection space to identify, address and guide her outfit so that they would build on existing digitalized systems in the social protection sector and leverage the Government of Ghana’s digitization drive to ensure effective service delivery.
In a speech read on behalf of Hon. Daniel Botwe, the Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, said, the gesture of expanding safety net programmes to cover an additional number of districts is a further demonstration of President Akufo-Addo and the government’s desire to ensure that the country’s pro-poor programmes and social interventions are extended to all which fits into the cliche “leaving no one behind.”
The Ministry according to him would continue to discharge its responsibilities in line with provisions in the Local Government Act,2016(Act 936) which among other things mandates MMDAs to “promote local economic development” and “promote and support productive and social development in the districts and remove any obstacle to initiative and development.”