Delay in LEAP payments deepens hardship for vulnerable citizens


By Juliet ETEFE 

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 delays in the disbursement of Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) grants.

They noted that the persistent delays, stretching up to 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 cost of living and 20 percent rise in food prices over the past year.

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

He is insistent 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 incom; 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 and leads 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 a lack of timely financial support,” he added.

To address this circumstance, the civil society groups are urging government to honour its commitment to timely LEAP payments – holding strongly that immediate action is necessary to alleviate the vulnerable’s suffering and restore confidence in social protection initiatives.

“This issue transcends political and economic debates and touches on the core of human dignity and 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, thus preserving their real value against inflation. For 2024, government has decided to double the LEAP grant value again – marking the first instance of consecutive annual increases.

Available data on government’s LEAP website indicate that with cash grants for the 88th cycle, one eligible member household will receive GHȼ128two eligible members will receive GHȼ152; three eligible members will receive GHȼ176; and four or more eligible members will receive GHȼ212.

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