The Corona Virus pandemic has only not created a health crisis but also caused social and economic shocks with a disproportionate impact on the poor and rich. Globally, reports suggest that the pandemic is driving poor people deeper into poverty while creating new categories of the poor who are struggling to meet their basic nutritional, health and educational needs. In Ghana, preliminary data from a survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show that since March 2020, 77.4% of households reported a reduction in income while 52.1% have reduced their food consumption. Hence, providing a temporary cushion to extremely poor and vulnerable is critical to protecting Ghana’s gains in poverty reduction and improving human development outcomes. The Government is adopting a mix of measures including cash transfers; a globally proven tool that has been deployed extensively in response to the shocks of COVID-19.
This is against the backdrop that the lives and livelihoods of the extremely poor and vulnerable segment of Ghana’s population have worsened in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government has therefore put in place several measures to support all Ghanaians including the poor and vulnerable in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic: from the provision of free light and water, provision of nutritious hot meals for persons living within the lockdown areas, free healthcare and support for persons who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and provision of hot-nutritious meals to final year students in Senior and Junior High Schools as well as the second year students nationwide. Government is very committed to ensuring that the welfare of all Ghanaians is catered for and that no one is left behind in national economic growth and development.
To this end, the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection continue to take steps to ensure the provision of GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfers to selected extremely poor and vulnerable persons and households who are not on any social protection programmes but are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfer is targeted at 125,000 specific vulnerable individuals and households across the country. The beneficiaries include homeless persons (in Accra and Kumasi), persons living with disabilities, persons in alleged witch camps, persons affected by floods as well as other extremely poor and vulnerable persons in the poorest regions of Ghana. The Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), is responsible for determining poverty and vulnerability status as well as the eligibility of all potential individuals and households for the GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfer.
Depending on their situation, each beneficiary will receive a one-off temporary GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfer payment ranging from GHS 220.00 up to GHCS 550.00. The GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfer is provided by Government to the extremely poor and vulnerable through the MoGCSP with support from its development partners (The World Bank; UNICEF; and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK). The payment of the cash grant to beneficiaries will be in two instalments: November 2020 and January 2021, respectively. The support will enable beneficiaries to meet their basic nutritional needs and improve their livelihoods to protect themselves against the coronavirus pandemic while mitigating its impact of poverty reduction efforts in Ghana.
There are provisions for inquiries and sharing of feedback from all stakeholders, particularly, the beneficiaries. Any individual or group with a grievance, complaint, or question with the GoG COVID-19 Relief Cash Transfer are encouraged to call the toll-free number (0800 800 800 or 0800 800 900) of the Single Window Citizens Engagement Service under the MoGCSP.
The MoGCSP entreats all stakeholders to respect all the COVID 19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, physical/social distancing, hand washing, and caring for each other at all times. Government is committed to working closely with all stakeholders on this project to reach out to, extremely poor and vulnerable persons who have been adversely affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. Through our collective support, we should give hope and opportunity to all Ghanaians to enhance inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.