Social programmes are safe – finance minister assures

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has provided reassurance outlining government’s commitment to safeguarding social interventions under the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

Amid concerns raised by observers over the potential adverse effects of fiscal tightening and reduced capital expenditure on the country’s most vulnerable – who are already grappling with soaring inflation, the finance minister addressed those worries during the 2023 mid-year budget presentation.

He offered the reassurance by emphasizing that despite ongoing fiscal adjustments, government remains committed to promoting inclusive growth and providing support to those in need.

“The IMF-supported PC-PEG has also prioritised social protection reforms to ensure the vulnerable are protected from impacts of the ongoing fiscal adjustment,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said.

To this end, the minister announced the introduction of an indexation mechanism for benefits under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme that will be rolled out by end of September 2023. This mechanism will ensure that the benefits provided to beneficiaries keep pace with inflation and other economic fluctuations.

Furthermore, the LEAP programme’s coverage will be expanded to reach more individuals in need, and its targetting will be improved to cover the ‘extreme poor’ by 2024. The finance minister highlighted: “We are committed to ensuring that no vulnerable individual is left behind. By improving targetting, we can focus our efforts on those who need our support the most”.

Mr. Ofori-Atta stressed that social spending on health, social protection and education will be closely monitored to ensure the timely disbursement of funds to beneficiaries. He stated that: “Effective and efficient disbursement of funds is essential to ensure that our social programmes have the desired impact on the lives of our citizens”.

1H review

Providing a summary of the half-year performance of key social protection programmes, the minister reported that as of June 2023 a total of GH¢169.9million had been disbursed under the LEAP programme, which went to approximately 346,000 households comprising 1.5 million individuals.

He further noted that the monthly grant for beneficiary households had been increased from GH¢32 to GH¢64 for one-member households and GH¢38 to GH¢76 for two-member households.

“Our target under this programme period is to reach about 8 percent of the population, that is 2.5 million people. We aim to lift more families out of poverty and provide them with a chance for a better future,” he added.

In addition to the LEAP programme, Mr. Ofori-Atta highlighted government’s continuous commitment to enhancing other social protection initiatives. Notably, the Ghana School Feeding Programme, he said, saw a substantial increase in coverage from 1.67 million beneficiaries in 2016 to 3.8 million beneficiaries by June 2023.

The feeding grant’s cost per meal, per child, per day was also raised to GH¢1.20 for the 2023 academic year.

On the Capitation Grant, he praised its positive impact on public basic school enrollment; contributing to an increase from 6 million pupils for the 2021/2022 academic year to 6.1 million pupils for the 2022/2023 academic year.

Also, the Free Senior High School (Free SHS)/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Free TVET) programmes recorded a total of 447,396 first-year students enrolled during the 2022/2023 academic year. This brought the total number of beneficiaries to 1.3 million students.

“Government continued with the construction of 9 state-of-the-art TVET centres to offer modern facilities and equipment, enable effective skills training and empower young people with the relevant skills required for employment and entrepreneurship,” he further stated.

Additionally, implementing Cycle 8 of the Complementary Basic Education Programme (CBEP) in February 2023 led to the enrolment of 5,000 learners as at the end of June 2023.



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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has provided reassurance outlining government’s commitment to safeguarding social interventions under the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.