The poorest of the poor in Ghana have been denied their monthly livelihood allowance for ten months.

The Social Welfare Department tasked with the responsibility to transfer the allowance to these deprived persons has admitted its default but attributed it to some challenges the department was facing.

According to Stephen Adongo Director of the Social Welfare Department, the allowance was last paid in November last year and plans are far advanced to resume payment next week.

The beneficiaries – mostly elderly and the physically challenged in the society – say they are struggling to survive.

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) instituted by the NPP administration in 2008 was to cushion the vulnerable people in the society by paying cash amount to households considered to be below the poverty line.

Helpage Ghana, an NGO promoting the rights of the elderly believes the delays are taking a heavy toll on its members.

Its Executive Director Ebenezer Adjetey Sorsey in an interview with Joy News described the allowances as small but “a saviour” to households which have no one to look up to for support.

He said beneficiaries receive between GHS 8.00- GHS15.00 per month, adding the ten months arrears is frustrating and not a palatable thing at all for beneficiaries.

In a reaction, the Social Welfare Department cited amongst other things delays in payment of the allowances by the Ministry of Finance.

Mr. Adongo also noted the policy had to undergo some evaluation process to straighten the rough edges of the policy and blamed a malfunctioning software for the storage of the data of the beneficiaries for the delays.

He however promised that the challenges have been resolved and the arrears will be paid beginning next week.

But a former deputy minister under the Kufuor administration maintains government has no justification in defaulting on such a sensitive poverty alleviation programme.

Frema Osei Opare who is also the Member of Parliament told Joy News the default defeats the very purpose of the policy.

She said not once did the NPP government defaulted in paying the allowance to the beneficiaries when it was in government.

She also dismissed the explanation that the policy was suspended for a while to allow for an effective evaluation of the policy.

Frema Osei Opare noted the government could still have implemented the policy and conducted its evaluation process at the same time.


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