Ghana on Monday launched the National Social Protection Policy aimed at delivering a well-coordinated and inter-sectoral social protection system that would enable people to live in dignity.
The system would be delivered through income support, livelihood empowerment and improved access to schemes of basic services.
The 55-page policy document, therefore, defines Social Protection as; “a range of actions carried out by the state and other parties in response to vulnerability and poverty which seeks to guarantee relief for those sections of the population who, for any reason, are not able to provide for themselves”.
The document has three main objectives of providing effective and efficient social assistance to reduce poverty by 2030, promote productive inclusion and decent work to sustain families and vulnerable communities, and to increase access to formal social security and social insurance for all Ghanaians.
Dr Rashid Pelpuo, a Minister of State at the Presidency, in-charge of Public Private Partnership, represented President John Dramani Mahama to launch the policy document which also had braille printed copies for the visually impaired.
He said the policy sets the structures for equitable distribution of resources, thereby, empowering the vulnerable in society and further establishing an institutional framework for co-ordination.
Dr Pelpuo commended the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, development partners as well as civil society for being instrumental in the development of the comprehensive policy document to ultimately improve the socio-economic development of the country.
Government, he said, would continue to facilitate and create the needed environment for social protection and inclusion of vulnerable groups to ensure equity and development.
Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said the policy anchored on the National Development Planning Framework and drew from the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda (GSGDA II 2014-2017), which embodies the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development policies 2014 to 2020 as well as a range of sectoral policies and programmes.
It also acknowledges Ghana’s efforts at Long-Term Development Planning and aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals.
She commended the Social Protection Sector Working Group for the hard work in finalising the document, and that the launch of the Policy signified the government’s commitment to put people first.
Nana Oye Lithur said to build further on the Policy, the Government had also developed a Social Protection Bill that was currently at the Attorney General’s Department for consideration, and when passed, would strengthen the legal environment in creating a stronger social protection framework that empowered and protected all persons.
She said government had already made significant strides in the implementation of her social protection initiatives such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme, the National School Feeding Programme, Free School Uniforms, National Health Insurance Scheme which provides free biometric registration for vulnerable groups, the Capitation Grant and the Labour Intensive Public Works Programmes, which had all begun to yield positive results.
She affirmed government’s commitment towards the reduction of social inequalities in the coming years.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, the Lead Consultant to the development of the Policy, in an overview, said the Policy visions, though ambitious and aspirational, was achievable with both long, medium and short term visions.
She said in the short-term, the focus of national social protection shall be on achieving impacts and transforming lives at the household levels of extremely poor Ghanaians, while the medium-term aimed at closing the gaps in the desired social protection floor and scaling the interventions to address the needs of the poor.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye said in the long-term, an anticipatory perspective would be taken with a view to extending social protection to all sections of the population.