$50m Loan For Social Programmes

Parliament yesterday approved a $50 million loan to finance social interventions or programmes like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).

The loan is being financed by the International Development Association of the World Bank.

Moving the motion for the approval of the loan, the chairman of the Finance Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, said the loan was secured to establish a database of beneficiaries of social protection programmes to facilitate monitoring and assessment.

He said the financial support for the programme will help define the targeting mechanism needed for an effective social intervention in the country and maximise coverage of poor households, reduce leakages of resources and increase cost efficiency and transparency in social protection interventions.

Giving the background of the loan, Mr Avedzi told Parliament that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government secured an $88.6 million credit facility from the World Bank to support the implementation of the Ghana Social Opportunities Project which was designed against the backdrop of the wide poverty gap across regions, greater exposure to risks and seasonal unemployment, food, fuel and financial crisis and the need to increase support for LEAP.

He said the project was designed to make significant contributions to mitigate the adverse impact of global financial, fuel and food crisis by expanding income earnings in some of the poorest communities, expanding social support to critically vulnerable groups and strengthening social protection framework so that in the event of any future economic crisis, these safety net programmes would be expanded to mitigate the sufferings of the poor and the vulnerable.

According the chairman of the Finance Committee, the project has proven to be one of the effective social protection interventions since its inception and that there is the need for additional activities and restructuring so as to sustain the gains made; hence, the government’s decision to go for the additional $50 million loan for its expansion.

‘Under this expansion programme, we have social protection and systems strengthening, labour intensive public works implementation and capacity building, LEAP implementation and capacity building and project management and coordination,’ the chairman of the Finance Committee said.

In addition to this, another $67.2 million loan for the implementation of the Prestea to Kumasi Power Enhancement Project was also tabled and the resolution will be taken later on.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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