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LEAP beneficiaries appeal for grant increment

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The 564 beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Programme Against Poverty (LEAP) programme in the Tano South Municipality of the newly created Ahafo Region have appealed to government to increase their grant allowances.

They said the increment is necessary due to the current economic situation in the country, which is affecting prices of goods and services.

Every two months government through the LEAP programme provides grant support between GH¢ 64 and GH¢ 106 to beneficiaries for their upkeep.

They comprise vulnerable people who are 65 years and above; and people with severe disabilities, pregnant women and orphans.

But, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after a public forum held to discuss experiences on the LEAP, at Kwasu, near Bechem, the beneficiaries, coming from 12 communities in the Municipality, described the grant as inadequate.

Maame Margaret Antwiwaa, 85, said she has been benefiting from the programme since 2008 and commended successive governments for sustaining it, but noted the amount required some increment to enhance their socio-economic livelihoods.

The forum, which was attended by more than 200 beneficiaries, was organized by the Coalition of Right to Information, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), and Save Our Environment Foundation (SEF), Non-Governmental Organizations with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), another NGO.

Madam Mina Mensah, the Head of Africa Office of the CHRI, said the lack of information flow on the implementation of the LEAP which is a laudable programme was affecting its implementation.

She said education on the concept of the programme, its requirement and criteria for selection ought to be intensified to make citizens appreciate its role.

Madam Mensah called on chiefs and opinions leaders to help in identifying and selecting of the beneficiaries in the communities.

Mr Collins Osei, the Executive Director of SEF, said many vulnerable people in the Municipality, particularly the aged, qualified to be selected but were not selected for the LEAP, and called on the government to expand the scope beneficiaries.

Nana Fosu Boadi Amponim, the chief of Kwasu, appealed to government to reshape the Bechem-Kwasu road to facilitate easy movement of the people and their economic activities.

He said the people were predominantly farmers and they could not transport their produce to the marketing centre at Bechem because of the bad nature of the road as commercial vehicles have failed to ply on it during rainy seasons.

Nana Fosu expressed concern over lack of potable drinking water in the community and its environs and appealed to the Municipal Assembly and NGOs to support them.

Meanwhile, many of the aged in the area, who are not benefiting from the LEAP grant, have also appealed to the government to consider them and help alleviate their economic plight.

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