Beneficiaries of Livinghood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) fund in the Agona West Municipality of the Central Region have lauded His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo led NPP government for prompt payment of the fund which they describe as 'God-Sent'
According to the Seven Hundred and Eleven (711) beneficiaries whose ages ranged from 65 and above said LEAP fund has been a great relief to them and their families.
They disclosed these when Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison led a team of officers from her Ministry made LEAP payment to beneficiaries at Agona Abodom, Abigyakrom and Nkranfo in the Agona West Municipality on Monday.
Madam Mary Osei Tutu from Agona Abigyakrom, a widow with five children noted the payment has cushioned her financially.
"I thank President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and our Member of Parliament, Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison for bringing the money to our doorsteps. Hinder, we had to walk a 10km distance from here to Agona Abodom before accessing the fund
NPP Government has a passionate love for those of us in deprived communities. While our children are enjoying Free SHS policy, we are also enjoying LEAP funds aside from Free National National Health Insurance, Free Cocoa, Coconut and Oil Palm Seedlings which also contribute significantly to our financial income. We are highly grateful to him
My only appeal is for him to increase the money for us. We are hungry for 2020 general elections, we will vote massively for Nana Akufo Addo and our Member of Parliament Hon. Mrs Cynthia Morrison. Ghana is working again"
An 82 year old woman, Madam Ekua Okyerewa of Agona Abodom and Opanyin Kojo Acquah of Agona Nkranfo shared similar view praising the NPP government for the financial relief.
" We thank God for this day. We are solidly behind NPP government for all that it's doing for us especially those of us in the hinterland. Our only plead is for the fund to be expanded to cover many of those people who are in similar situations. We accordingly pledge to put the money into good use to serve its purpose " Mr. Samuel Enu of Agona Abigyakrom told news men.
The Acting Central Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Miss Monica Siaw noted lay down procedures for selection of LEAP beneficiries.
" For someone to qualify for LEAP Programme, he or she must be a deprived orphan and must not be above 18 years.
The others are those above 65 years and lastly those who are severely injured or disabled. These are the category for selection of LEAP beneficiries "
The Acting Regional Director cleared the difference between LEAP and Disabled Common fund. Miss Monica Siaw stated that the Disabled Common Fund was mainly for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) to cater for themselves and their families.
She disclosed that her outfit was closely monitoring the use of the funds to ensure judicious use of every Cedi they recieve to meet their financial challenges.
On begging, the Acting Regional Director cautioned against street begging saying it was against the laws of the land.
Later in an interview with newsmen, Minister for Gender Children and Social Protection, Hon. Mrs Cynthia Morrison who is also the Member of Parliament for Agona West Constituency said LEAP was to cushion the aged, Orphans and severely injured or disabled people who don't have any financial support in the various communities across the country to sustain them economically.
" I have to go down with my Officers to get first-hand information about how the funds are disbursed to the beneficiaries and get feedback from them accordingly. It's value for money.
LEAP beneficiaries in the cities and urban areas can access the fund through banks in their locality, but those in rural and deprived communities because there are no banks, we have to bring the money to their doorsteps.
Team from the Ministry are all over the 16 Regions in the country disbursing monies to the beneficiaries. I can't be anywhere. The monies are matured for disbursement so my Deputy and other Officers are there making payment. The monies are paid according to individual status and it ranges from Ghc 65.00 to Ghc 145.00 accordingly
There will be a review plan. I learned it has been reviewed three times, the review could be an upward adjustment and to extend it to cover more people "
Hon. Mrs Cynthia Morrison hinted that new people could be brought on board to enjoy the facility while others would be given substantial funds to go into business so they won't depend solely on LEAP payment for survival.
" If we give them a substantial amount of money they can establish themselves and feel their families. I believe most of the LEAP beneficiaries need Money to establish themselves
It is just few people who can't work but to depend solely on LEAP. The weak and Severely Disabled will still depend on the payment" Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison noted.