Pass Social Welfare Bill – CSOs Urge Parliament

A senior lecturer at the Institute for Local Government Studies (ILGS), Felix Amakye, has called on Parliament to speed up the passage of the Social Welfare Bill to give strong legal backing to the implementation implementation of social intervention policies.

He said that for any social program to succeed, there needed to be legal support to assist in the effective mobilization, disbursement and use of resources.

Such a bill, he also said, would reduce corruption and delay the release of funds for such interventions.

“The implementation of social programs is full of challenges and it is time we had a consolidated law on social protection to ensure that they are implemented in a coherent and well-coordinated way,” he said.

Responsibility

At the 2022 Social Responsibility and Economic Justice Compensation Platform Forum in Accra yesterday[August 23,2022]Mr. Amakye said: “Without a social welfare bill, it makes accountability very weak,”

“For policy implementation that has little legal basis, you can feel the angle of corruption in that framework which will be extremely difficult to manage, but when you have the law, it tackles supply issues, mobilization and disbursement of resources and also provides the opportunity for citizens to demand real accountability,” he said.

He said so when he presented the research report on health, education and resource equity (ICI) carried out from April to May 2022.

Here and Now Project

The research examined the level of citizen awareness of certain social protection interventions and identified challenges affecting the implementation of these social interventions.

It also aimed to build the capacity of citizens to hold state and commercial actors to account and to ensure that economic development benefits the poor.

The research was conducted in Central Gonja District in Savannah Region, Juaben Municipality in Ashanti Region and Accra Metropolis in Greater Accra Region.

It was jointly funded by Penplusbytes and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), two non-profit organizations.

Mr. Amakye said that whenever there was a gap in the way resources for social interventions were mobilized and disbursed, it reflected the sheer lack of accountability on the part of public officials and the exercise of their responsibilities. .

“For us, we strongly believe that we should put a law in place so that we can push for effective accountability.

“This bill will ensure that social protection policies are implemented in a way that reduces disqualifications and corruption to give people confidence that their taxes and rights to a good life are being met through these interventions,” said- he declared.

Presenting the research findings, he said around 96.2% of respondents said they were aware of the NHIS, 87% were aware of the Mental Health Act, an overwhelming number of respondents (2.1%) did not being unaware of the GALOP program.

Policy relevance

On the relevance of social protection programs, he said that a majority of respondents agreed that social protection policies were still relevant for development and protecting people’s well-being.

For the school feeding programme, he said that about 88% of respondents indicated that it was relevant, with 31.8% indicating that LEAP was not achieving its objectives and 45.5% not being so sure that “we achieve the objectives”.

Mirror report

Giving an overview of the CSO Social Protection Report 2022, which was carried out in 10 regions to assess citizens’ views on the provision of social protection in Ghana in July 2022, SEND Ghana’s Program Officer, the Dr Isaac Kwakye, said social protection expenditure in terms of gross domestic product was found to be less than 1%.

Joel C. Hicks