- On October 19, 2018
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has responded positively to inputs submitted on behalf of citizens’ by SEND Ghana into the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
The Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr. Afisah Zakariah, in a letter signed on behalf of the Minister has outlined series of actions being taken to address issues raised by citizens into the 2019 Budget Statement.
“The issues raised in your report are being addressed in the Ministry’s 2019 work plan and budget,” the letter says.
Following the Ministry of Finance’s call for citizens to submit inputs into the 2019 Budget, SEND Ghana, in partnership with UNICEF, World Bank, USAID, Ford Foundation, Oxfam, Trust Africa and Star Ghana, went round the country, especially the remotest parts, to collect citizens’ inputs and suggestions into the 2019 budget. The inputs were then submitted to the various ministries responsible to prioritise into their respective budgets.
How is the Ministry addressing citizens’ inputs into the 2019 Budget?
In the citizens’ input report submitted to the Ministry, Ghanaians raised concerns with the LEAP, asking for an increase in the allowance and expansion of the programme to cover more people in all communities.
The Ministry said the expansion of the programme is being taken care of. “The LEAP Management Secretariat Unit under the Ministry is currently working on the expansion of the LEAP beneficiaries to cover 456,000 households in the 2019 Budget,” the Ministry said.
Citizens also suggested to the government to create enrolment and payment centres closer to LEAP beneficiaries to ensure easy access.
The Ministry has promised to expand payment units to ensure beneficiaries gain access. The letter says, “The Ministry is currently reviewing its contract with Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited to progressively expand the pay points by recruiting more Payment Financial Institutions.”
Citizens have asked government to establish a Regional Case Management Unit to promptly resolve challenges LEAP beneficiaries encounter.
The Ministry said it has plans of setting up case management units in all the districts in the country to address issues confronting LEAP beneficiaries. “The Ministry has established a case management unit with two toll free numbers to enhance the reporting and redress of cases/challenges in the LEAP and other social protection interventions,” the Ministry said, adding that, “The Ministry will also work with Office of the Head of the Local Government Service to establish centres in the districts.”
In the citizens’ input report submitted to the Ministry, citizens want government to provide logistics and intensify capacity building for social welfare and community development officers for enhanced service delivery.
The Ministry says it has supported district officers with logistics and plans to continue supporting them to improve their performance. “The Ministry provided some motor bikes, computers, printers etc. through the LEAP programme to district offices.
“The Ministry is also currently collaborating with Office of the Head of the Local Government Service to augment and enhance staff capacity as well as other logistical support to District staff to improve their performance and technical competence,” the Ministry said.
Citizens have asked government to deliberately target marginalized groups in the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) project.
The Ministry has assured citizens of a possible collaboration with managers of the project to address this concern.
”The Ministry will collaborate with managers of Ghana‘s flagship programmes to enroll LEAP beneficiaries who will exit the cash transfer programme onto the Flagship programmes such as the Planting for Food and Jobs programme for their economic sustainability,” the Ministry said.
Citizens have also raised concerns about the welfare of the aged and asked government to provide homes to cater for them.
The Ministry says it is working to have the aged bill passed. According to the Ministry, once the bill becomes law, most of the issues the aged face will be addressed. “An aged person bill is being finalized to be passed into Law to provide the framework for addressing challenges facing the elderly including Day Care Centres for the elderly,” the Ministry said.
Citizens also mentioned to the government to consider allocating funds to support the implementation of the child rights protection and promotion policies.
The Ministry says despite limited funds, some allocation will be made available for these policies to be operative. “In view of the limited budgetary allocations for the Ministry, funds have been allocated for the implementation of the following: Child and Family Welfare Operational Plan, Justice for Children Operational Plan and Ending Child Marriage Framework,” the Ministry says.
Citizens say the Ghana School Feeding Programme has to be expanded to cover more rural schools.
The Ministry mentioned in the letter that it will expand the programme by 10% in the 2019 Budget. “The Ghana School Feeding Programme was expanded in 2018 from 1,681,570 to 2,589,618. It is projected to further increase to 2,848,580 representing 10% in 2019,” the Ministry said.
Citizens have asked government to allocate funds for the implementation of national strategic
framework on Ending Child Marriage (2017-2026) and to provide resource to the appropriate institutions to intensify education of the public against child marriage, child abuse and drug
The Ministry has promised to allocate 3% of its 2019 budget to address the issues raised. “The Ministry has allocated 101,817.60 cedis (3%) in the 2019 budget to address the issues of child marriage, child abuse and drug abuse in the country,” the Ministry said.
What are the responses of other ministries?
The Ministry of Sanitation has also written to commend citizens for their inputs and assured them of incorporating the inputs into the Ministry’s 2019 budget that would be submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
“We commend your efforts in this regard and assure you that the Ministry would take into consideration your proposal and incorporate into the 2019 Budget and submit same to the Ministry of Finance for further action,” says the Ministry of Sanitation in a letter to SEND Ghana signed for the Minister by the Ag. Chief Director, Joseph Obeng-Poku,.
The Ministry of Finance also invited SEND Ghana to participate in a forum to discuss the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy that would be presented to Ghanaians in parliament next month.