This year, Ghana will mark yet another major victory in her quest to strengthen the social protection system. The country’s Single National Registry, the Ghana National Household Registry, will commence operation under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP). This follows the formal launch of the Registry by His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana on the 20th of October 2015.
The National Targeting Unit (NTU) the project team tasked with the establishment of the Single Registry has over the past few months been involved in consensus building exercises with key stakeholders ahead of the data collection exercise. The Unit is now in the final stages of selecting service providers for the Data Collection Exercise and the Public Information Campaign. Data Collection is expected to commence in April this year in the Upper West Region.
The commencement of data collection will mark the birth of the Single Registry. When fully operational, the registry is expected to facilitate the identification of poor and vulnerable households in Ghana and thus will be the sole database used by all Social Protection Programs to identify respective beneficiaries.
The advantages a Single Registry presents to the nation was aptly summarized by His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur in his key note address during the launch of the GNHR. The three distinct advantages listed in his speech are discussed briefly as follows;
Firstly, a Single Registry will make our social protection system more effective and efficient by reducing duplicated efforts especially in the area of beneficiary selection. To fully appreciate this advantage, it will be important to understand how social protection programmes currently select beneficiaries without the support of a single registry. The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme for example currently collects its own community data and subsequently applies a selection criteria to enable it select beneficiaries before administering the programme benefits. The existence of a single registry will mean that social protection programmes such as LEAP will directly select beneficiaries from the Single National Registry. This reduces the effort required by programmes in data collection and beneficiary selection making them more efficient thereof.
Secondly, the existence of a Single Registry will mean that social protection will have the added advantage of having a beneficiary selection system that is standardized, inclusive and transparent.
Thirdly, it is also expected that by drawing beneficiaries from one database, there will be increased coordination amongst the various social protection programmes running in the country.
Overall, by facilitating a more effective and efficient Social Protection system, the GNHR has the potential of contributing positively to the progress already made by Ghana in poverty reduction.
For the registry to be credible and have the ability to make a positive impact, Ghanaians must respond to the call to participate in the registration exercise to enable the delivery of a credible Single National Registry that will inure to the benefit of all.
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