Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed that government continues to sustain social protection programmes to protect the poor and the vulnerable.
According to him, the half-year performance of the identified programmes includes the LEAP programme. With this, he indicated that government disbursed a total of GH¢169.95 million as at June 2023 to 346,019 households comprising 1,533,748 individuals.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that this equally includes the increase of the monthly grant to beneficiary households from GH¢32.00 to GH¢64.00 for one-member household and GH¢38.00 to GH¢76.00 for two-member households.
“Government continues to sustain social protection programmes to protect the poor and the vulnerable… Our target under this programme period is to reach about 8 percent of the population, that is 2.5million people.”Ken Ofori-Atta
Under the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Mr Ofori-Atta noted that coverage increased considerably from 1,671,777 beneficiaries in 2016 to 3,801,491 beneficiaries by June 2023. He explained that the feeding grants cost per meal, per child, per day increased from GH¢1.00 to GH¢1.20 for the 2023 academic year.
“We have also settled all arrears owed to caterers under the programme for the second and third terms of the 2022 academic year; and the first term of 2023.”Ken Ofori-Atta
On this issue of capitation Grant, the finance minister stated that it contributed to increased enrolment in public basic schools from 6,048,897 pupils for the 2021/2022 academic year to 6,114,302 pupils for the 2022/2023 academic year, whereas under the Free Senior High School (Free SHS)/Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Free TVET) programmes, a total of 447,396 first-year students enrolled during the 2022/2023 academic year to bring the total number of Free SHS/TVET beneficiaries to 1,318,035 students.
“Government continued with the construction of 9 state-of-the-art TVET centres to offer modern facilities and equipment, enable effective skills training and empower young people with the relevant skills required for employment and entrepreneurship.”Ken Ofori-Atta
Furthermore, Mr Ofori-Atta highlighted that Ghana’s Complementary Education for underprivileged groups, including out of-school children, Government commenced the implementation of Cycle 8 of the Complementary Basic Education Programme (CBEP) in February 2023, with a total enrolment of 5,000 learners as at end June 2023.
Private sector intervention by government
Touching on private sector intervention by government, Mr Ofori-Atta stated that government remains committed to promoting access to competitive financing for the private sector. He noted that over the course of the past five years, Government has established and recapitalised critical institutions that are able to provide financial intermediation to the private sector.
“These institutions include Ghana Incentive-based and Risk-Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL); Development Bank, Ghana (DBG); the Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG), the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX); the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF); and the Venture Capital Trust-Fund (VCTF).”Ken Ofori-Atta
Furthermore, Mr Ofori-Atta explained that as the economy recovers, government needs to support these critical institutions to deepen their interaction with private sector to spur growth and create more jobs.
In light of this, the finance minister underscored that government will place emphasis on supporting DBG capital raising to the US$1 billion mark in the medium term and disbursing about GHC 1 billion in loans, from the current GHS450 million, by the end of the year.
Additionally, he revealed that DBG and GIRSAL providing Partial Credit Guarantees that will reduce risk and attract more private sectors actors to expand agricultural operations.
Also, the finance minister highlighted the need for operationalizing an equity fund in partnership with other private sector investors to augment existing capital for SMEs and supporting GIIF to execute commercially sustainable infrastructure construction solutions, including the Agenda 111 Hospitals, Accra-Tema Expressway project, and affordable University Hostel accommodation.