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Beneficiaries of government’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme say the persistent delay in release of their bi-monthly cash grant is bringing undue hardship to them.

It was an intervention to ensure people below the poverty line receive cash support every other month, but beneficiaries are yet to receive any support since the last payment in February this year.

In June last year, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in a press release announced plans to kick start a 100 percent nationwide increment in the grant under the LEAP. The increment, according to the ministry, is as a result of the worsening global socio-economic crisis.

According to the beneficiaries, the increment was effected in the November stipend that came. But their joy was short-lived when, in February, the increment was halted.

75-year-old madam Mary Owusuwaa, a widow, became a beneficiary of the programme in 2010 when she lost her husband who was then blind and a beneficiary as well.

The support she receives from LEAP enabled her to open a well, thus selling water and bread to sustain herself.

However, the stipend from the program has not been consistent. The last time beneficiaries like her received some cash was in February this year, without the promised increment.

“My late husband was blind and a beneficiary. So, after he died, I also became a beneficiary as a widow who needed the assistance. My children were young, and I used to be a trader, but the business spoiled. In November I got 300 cedis and that was it. Then February I went, and I got 150. That’s the old amount which they said has been increased. I wasn’t told why and it’s of concern. I use some of the money to do this borehole and sell the water to sustain me a bit and my children also support small, small. l also sell bread,” she explained.

Though she is disappointed in the delay in release, she remains hopeful.

‘‘The money helps me small, small so it is expected that when they make a promise, they keep it. It’s just not nice. First it used to come every two months but now we don’t know when it will come, but we are hopeful it will come.”

Mariama Issah a coordinator for the beneficiaries around Abokobi, and a beneficiary herself, she cannot better explain the hardship her members and counterparts are facing. According to her, the situation is not peculiar to only her members.

“Madam it’s not easy at all ooooo. I am suffering and they are also suffering, how do I help them? You go round to check up on them and they are in very bad state. Me too I don’t have money to give them. Sometimes I have to inform the officials and they will send nurses to come and attend to them. The money is not coming, and they have reduced it to the old amount instead of the new one promised. They should please do something about it,” she pleaded.

The Civil Society Platform on the Sustainable Development Goal 10, the Social Accountability Forum, and the Civil Society Platform for Social Protection jointly expressed disappointment.

A member of the group from Inclusion Ghana, Auberon Jeleel Odoom said: “Government’s Delay in the LEAP payments is a betrayal for vulnerable Ghanaians. Evidence shows that regular, predictable cash transfers that keep pace with inflation and are delivered over an adequate period, enhances household resilience to future shocks and for the aged, LEAP is a lifeline.”

Auberon Jeleel Odoom

Meanwhile, the LEAP Secretariat is yet to get back to TV3 with reactions to the issue after being contacted.

By the end of 2023, the LEAP programme had extended its reach to approximately 350,580 households, benefiting around 1.5 million individuals nationwide.

Meanwhile, the leap secretariat is yet to get back to TV3 with reactions to the issue after being contacted for that purpose.

By Sarah Apenkroh