Until 2007, social protection programs in the country were largely dominated by family, traditional, faith-based, community and social arrangements.
That same year, the Ghana National Social Protection (GNSP) was developed with the aim of strengthening the delivery of social protection in the country.
While the mandate of social protection programs rests with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, there is still a challenge in implementing interventions.
For nearly a decade after the development of the GNSP, weak institutional coordination between implementing agencies such as ministries, departments and agencies left social protection interventions in limbo.
To address the challenges of providing services to the poor and vulnerable in society, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Initiative, Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP) and Grant by capitation, labor-intensive public works (LIPW) were introduced.
While these initiatives were commendable during their inception period, they were characterized by delays in payments to beneficiaries, politicization among other factors.
For LEAP beneficiaries in eligible households, they receive between US$12 (96.35 GH¢) and $20 (160 GH¢) every two months.
The rather meager sum of the critical LEAP program has been described by CSOs as rather inadequate although disbursements sometimes do not even reach these households on time.
With Ghana’s population standing at 32.37 million in 2021, CSOs have called for an urgent need to review these allocations.
THE MIRROR REPORT
A recent report released by SEND Ghana and its partners indicated that social protection programs are not working as well in the country.
The organizations mirror report revealed that less than 1% of gross domestic product is spent on the social protection program. This is well below 2.2% of the regional GDP average for sub-Saharan Africa.
The report further highlights that there is an increasingly entrenched perception among SAP beneficiaries regarding the apparent politicization of interventions.
“Inadequate budget allocation has been a major factor hindering the smooth implementation of social protection programs in Ghana. It is suggested that in line with global benchmarks and commitments, the government should aim for a gradual increase in social protection expenditure up to 4.5% of Ghana’s GDP by 2025,” the report states.
“The huge gaps between approved program budget allocations and disbursements are proof that social protection budget planning and execution is a challenge. Almost all respondents (including government staff, beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries) from the selected districts on the various programs complained about delays and irregular release of funds,” he explained.
The Mirror report added that “endemic delays in the payment of grants to beneficiaries are causing the public to lose confidence in the effectiveness of LEAP and other social intervention programs”.
During a presentation of the report on June 29, Dr. Isaac Nyarko of SEND Ghana highlighted the importance of increasing social protection expenditure for Ghana, adding that it was essential to reduce vulnerability and deprivation among the poor. poor.
The Mirror report also urged the government to strengthen the execution of the social budget and ensure the timely release of funds for social protection programs.
He then called on the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection to expedite the completion of the Social Protection Bill before it is submitted to Parliament for adoption.
The bill, which is in its final stages of preparation, is expected to improve the social protection programs currently being implemented.