Delay in LEAP payments deepens hardship for vulnerable citizens – Civil Society Groups

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The Civil Society platform on Sustainable Development Goal 10, the Social Accountability Forum, and that for Social Protection have called on government to urgently address the delays in the disbursement of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) grants.

They noted that the persistent delays, stretching up to about four months, are causing severe hardship for the programme’s beneficiaries, who include the elderly, orphans, very poor pregnant women, lactating mothers, and persons with disabilities.

These groups rely on LEAP grants for essential support, and the prolonged wait exacerbates their already difficult circumstances.

At a press briefing in Accra, Convenor at SDG Sub platform Goal 10, Auberon Jeleel Odoom said despite commitments made during recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout negotiations, government has been slow to disburse the grants, leaving many in dire straits amid a 15 percent increase in the cost of living and a 20 percent rise in food prices over the past year.

“This delay has significantly undermined trust and the effectiveness of the programme. The delays are particularly harmful during a period of increasing inflation and economic instability,” he stressed.

He is however confident that regular, predictable cash transfers are crucial for enhancing household resilience to future shocks and avoiding harmful coping mechanisms.

He explained that “For many elderly beneficiaries, LEAP grants are their only source of income, essential for purchasing food, medication, and other necessities. The delays, sometimes extending up to four months, force many to choose between basic needs.

“For orphans and vulnerable children, the delays affect their education, nutrition, and basic needs; for persons with severe disabilities, it exacerbates their already challenging circumstances, leading to increased isolation and vulnerability.”

Delays on the part of very poor pregnant women and lactating mothers, he said can lead to severe malnutrition and health complications for both mothers and infants.

“Relying on LEAP grants for daily sustenance, these individuals face increased isolation and vulnerability due to the lack of timely financial support,” he added.

To this end, the Civil Society Groups are urging the government to honour its commitment to timely LEAP payments holding strongly that immediate action is necessary to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable and restore confidence in social protection initiatives.

“This issue transcends political and economic debates and touches on the core of human dignity and the right to a basic standard of living,” Mr. Odoom added.

The Initiative

The LEAP initiative, which had reached approximately 350,580 households by the end of 2023, saw the monthly benefit levels increase by 100% in the 2023 National Budget. Despite some delays, the government disbursed all six LEAP cycles at the increased grant value for 2023.

Additionally, an inflation-based indexation mechanism was approved to adjust LEAP benefits annually, preserving their real value against inflation. For 2024, the government has decided to double the LEAP grant value again, marking the first instance of consecutive annual increases.

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