Social pension scheme for the older persons without formal social security

Accra, Oct 3, GNA - Mr Kweku Antwi-Boasiako, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, said government was planning to develop and implement a pilot social pension scheme for the older persons without formal social security in 2013.He said it would be done alongside strengthening the existing social security schemes for the older persons.

The Minister was speaking at an international conference organised by the Centre for Social Policy Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon on the theme: “Promoting Discourse on Social Policy and Cash Transfer in West Africa”.

The conference brought together neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone to chart the way forward in addressing social policy programmes in West Africa. Mr Antwi-Boasiako said in 2008 USAID has provided 1.8 million dollars to UNICEF to deliver capacity building for the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to review, improve and operationalize the monitoring and evaluation system for the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.

He explained that the LEAP was a cash transfer program designed to reach around 45,000 of the most vulnerable households in 80 districts. Mr Antwi-Boasiako said the programme was reaching about 70,000 households in 97 districts where beneficiaries received monthly cash transfers of GH¢36 and enrolled on the National Health Insurance Scheme. Mr Antwi-Boasiako said the LEAP, one of the main tools for achieving Ghana’s National Social Protection Strategy, supports households living in extreme poverty by providing conditional cash transfers to extremely poor households, who had no alternative means of meeting their subsistence needs and with limited productive capacity.

He said government was committed in the wellbeing of the vulnerable in society and that government would in 2013 present a bill to Parliament on the National Ageing Policy to legalize the establishment of the National Council on Ageing. Mr Emmanuel Budu-Addo, Deputy Director of ActionAid Ghana, said developing countries all over the world were confronted with the difficulty of eradicating extreme poverty and that policies designed to solve poverty could not be effective if the issues around the causes and effects were not clear to policy makers.

He said delay in disbursement, poor programme design for targeting, monitoring and evaluation and poor communication leading to speculations affected the operations of the program. He called for the strengthening of public revenue mobilization systems to raise more funds to support the programme. Mr Mamadou Bara Gueye, Co-Director of Chronic Poverty Advisory Network said there were nearly half a billion severely poor people.

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