The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Otiko Afisa Djaba has announced plans to take off beneficiaries who have been on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty LEAP, for more than two years starting 2018.
The Minister explained that the aim of LEAP is to cushion beneficiaries to come out from poverty and that can be achieved through economic empowerment therefore as part of the exit plan, beneficiaries or their caregivers will be provided skills development and capital to be economically independent instead of being dependent on the monthly benefit of LEAP.
“We cannot keep people on the LEAP forever because poverty is dynamic, People become poor, people become rich for whatever reason, you can be a rich person but through an accident, you can become poor. Maybe you are a farmer, you’ve been able to get a bumper harvest so you become rich, so it keep changing so we have come out with a plan which will be rolled out from 2018 that if you are on the LEAP for more than 2 years, you should be taken off even if you are not productive, your caterer can be given training in start-up skills and a small start-up capital to be able to take care of your daily needs so that is what the exit plan is about “.
The Minister said this during information sharing on the National Social Protection Policy, Social Protection Bill and Social Protection Policy Implementation Plan held in Koforidua.
Since the inception of the program in 2008 by the then NPP Government, the LEAP Programme has expanded from 1,645 beneficiary households in 21 districts in 2008 to 213,044 beneficiary households in 216 districts and projected to reach 350,000 extremely poor and vulnerable households early 2018. However according to the Gender Minister, auditing of the pro-poor social intervention has begun and that from 2018, every beneficiary who has been on the program for more than two years will be taken off.
“We are doing an audit to find out all those people who need to be taken off and as I said , we don’t want them to come back to be poor again, so we have something called LEAP 1000 , it is for lactating mothers who cannot work so that we help them with start -ups and Skills training .We also help Labour Intensive Public Works(LIPW) also gives training it was piloted in Bongo ,they give them a start-up so with the exit plan for the New LEAP, we intend that after two years, it doesn’t matter whether you are still impoverished or not ,your caregiver or you yourself, if you are productive will be given skills training and a start-up ”
The Minister added “So nobody for now, from 2018 will be on the LEAP forever. Anybody who has been on the LEAP for more than 2 years will have to be moved out of it “.
The Social Protection Bill 2016 is to provide legislative authority for Social protection defined as “range of actions carried out by the state and other parties in response to vulnerability and poverty, which seek to guarantee relief for those sections of the population who for any reason are not able to provide for themselves”.