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22.03.2008 General News

LEAP Is Not A Political Exercise-New Juaben MCE

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The New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Nana Agyei Boateng has debunked the notion that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme is a political exercise meant to achieve election results in the impending December polls.

He said, If it was meant to influence election results, the government would have focused on its electoral strongholds in the country.

The Chief Executive was speaking at the launch of the LEAP program in the municipality in Jumapo today. The municipality is among the 21 districts selected for the take-off of the programme.

As a political boss in the municipality, he said, 'I know the areas that are not NPP strongholds but those areas have been captured in the project.'

Explaining the concept behind LEAP, the MCE stated that LEAP, which is under the framework of the National Social Protection Strategy, (NSPS) is intended to help the poor, vulnerable and care givers in society provide for their basic needs as well as enable them access health care, education and other essential social services.

The MCE observed that similar initiative was common to find in most developed countries which catered for their less privileged and that Ghana was the first in Sub-Sahara to implement such project.

Nana Agyei Boateng noted that the cash grant, which ranges from GH¢8 and GH¢15 depending on the number of people in a household would improve the income of poor households, adding that with other interventions such the School Feeding Programme, the Capitation Grant, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Masloc, poverty trends in the country could greatly be reduced for the country to developed.

He, therefore, appealed to Ghanaian to endeavour to fulfill their tax obligations, stating that it was through tax obligations that government would get enough funds to support the project.

The MCE commended the government for its Schools Under the Tree Programme, which saw the construction of school blocks and teachers bungalows in Asikesu, Sukyen and other less privileged towns. The initiative has impacted positively on the performance of both the teachers and the students.

The National Co-ordinator of LEAP, Mr. Lawrence Ofori-Addo reminded beneficiaries of the purpose for receiving the money every two month. The monies, he indicated are not meant to enrich themselves. 'It is meant to support you to enroll and retain your children in school, pay for their health premiums and empower you to engage in productive ventures.'

The National Co-ordinator pointed out that periodical assessment would be made to find out if beneficiaries have been able to achieve the set targets, adding that the success and expansion of the program would depend on how well beneficiaries will do in terms of satisfying the conditionalities.

Mr. Ofori-Addo hinted that those who were not able to meet the conditionalities would be withdrawn from the programme to make way for others who were in similar situations.

In all, about 120 persons, most of them women were identified in areas such as Betom, Zongo, Effiduase, Asokore and Jumapo all within the municipality as persons living in extreme poverty. They were all paid a flat rate of GH¢16 for two months allowance by officials from the Ghana Post.

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