File photo: Some beneficiaries of LEAP

Beneficiaries of the government’s Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP), are demanding the payment of their arrears by the government.

The beneficiaries have called on Ministries of Gender, Children and social Protection and Finance to release their grants as a matter of urgency.

Many beneficiaries including persons living with disabilities, the Elderly, orphans and vulnerable children, poor pregnant women, and lactating mothers have been plunged into extreme poverty as a result of the delay.

Addressing a joint press conference by some CSOs here in Accra, Lead convener Auberon Jeleel Odoom urged the government to expeditiously pay the grant to ameliorate the suffering if the leap beneficiaries.

“We urgently call on the government to honor its commitment to the timely payment of leap grants. Immediate action is required to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable Ghanaians and to restore confidence in the government’s social protection initiative”, he said.

According to the Group, delayed payment grants represent not only a breach of trust but a pressing humanitarian crisis.

 As Inflation continues to rise, the government must prioritize the needs of its most vulnerable citizens and expedite the disbursement of these crucial grants. This is not just about fulfilling a promise made during bailout negotiations; it is about upholding the dignity and well-being of Ghanaians who depends on this support to survive”, he added.

The government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Finance Ministry has increased the monthly LEAP benefits level by 100% in the 2023 National Budget. Prior to the 2023 adjustment, the transfer level had been revised twice.

“For many elderly beneficiaries, LEAP grants are a lifeline. These funds are often their only source of income, enabling them to purchase food, medication and other essential items. The delays, which have stretched to as long as four months, mean that elderly individuals are forced to make impossible choices between eating and buying medicine. This is not just about a financial issue; it’s a matter of dignity and survival”, he said

The LEAP initiative is recognized as of the five primary social intervention programs being enhanced to assist the poor and vulnerable populations. By the end of 2023, the LEAP program had extended its reach to approximately 350,580 households, benefiting over 1.5 million individuals nationwide.

Source: Ghana/ Essien