The government will start disbursing a World Bank grant of GH¢42 million to the direct beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program after the Easter festivities.
The grant is to help the government settle two rounds of overdue payments to the most vulnerable in society caught under the cash handout scheme.
A deputy director of the National LEAP Secretariat, Dr Myles Ongoh, who told the Daily Graphic in an interview last Tuesday, said around 344,786 households with around 1.5 million individual beneficiaries would receive the payments.
He said secretariat officials would start disbursement from April 18 to April 22 this year.
Beneficiary households receive different amounts of money, depending on the number of eligible household members.
For example, a household with only one eligible member receives 64 GH¢; two eligible members of a household receive 76 GH¢, while three eligible members of the same household receive 88 GH¢.
Households with four or more eligible members receive 106 GH¢.
Dr. Ongoh explained that the payment structure of the program was designed in such a way as to discourage beneficiaries from being adamant in seeking other sources of income.
He said the program aims to reduce poverty by smoothing consumption and promoting human capital development among the country’s extremely poor households.
He thanked all the donors funding the program including the World Bank, UNICEF, DFID and the World Food Program for their tremendous support.
Currently, the LEAP cash support program has been behind schedule for months and has been a source of concern for civil society organizations focusing on social protection interventions in the country.
The program involves the distribution of grants to individuals and households living in extreme poverty and has been running since 2008.
It targets some 334,084 households across the country, with around 750,000 eligible Ghanaians on the waiting list.
Beneficiaries of the program have over the years sought improved intervention, which has now become the lifeline for some families in extremely poor areas.
To help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on beneficiaries, the LEAP program provided an additional round of cash transfers to beneficiaries in May 2020.
Unable to distribute cash transfers at community sites, the program relied on contactless transfers.
Beneficiaries used electronic benefit transfer cards to withdraw cash from ATMs, with LEAP providing an additional benefit of GH¢10 to urban beneficiaries and GH¢20 to rural beneficiaries to help cover transport costs to banks.