Mrs Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has commended the World Bank and other development partners for supporting government in its efforts at eradicating poverty in Ghana.

Mrs Lithur, who was delivering the key note address at the first Social Protection Dialogue in Accra on Monday, said government’s vision for social protection was to create a mechanism that would focus on the well-being of Ghanaians, through an integrated platform of effective social assistance, social and productive inclusion, social insurance and financial access to social services.

She said the intervention of social protection was key to addressing the issue of extreme poverty in Ghana which, she said, had reduced drastically over the years.

She noted that ensuring an effective and efficient targeting system was an important requirement for any results-oriented social protection intervention, adding that the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR) had been established to provide an accurate and up-to-date database of households from which all social protection programmes in Ghana would select their respective beneficiaries.

The register, Mr Lithur said, would also serve as a Management Information System which would make it possible for households to benefit from more than one social intervention simultaneously.

“Data from the registry will be used for public policy planning, as well as for research and development in social protection for the poor, vulnerable and the excluded in society,” she added.

Speaking at the forum, Dr Philomena Nyarko, Government Statistician, noted that in order for available resources to be directed to those in need so as to avoid wastage, facilitate effective utilization and for Ghana’s social protection programme to register a greater impact, there was the need to ensure that potential beneficiaries were properly targeted.

Mr Ebenezer Anuwah Amarh, Commissioner, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in a statement, said despite significant progress in reducing poverty at national levels, not all Ghanaians had benefitted from the generalized reduction in poverty, as sections of the Ghanaian population continued to face high and unacceptable levels of poverty.

He, therefore, commended the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection for establishing the GNHR to facilitate the achievement of an effective co-ordination and social protection programmes in Ghana.

In her remarks, Ms Christabel Dadzie, Social Protection Specialist, World Bank, said while Ghana had made a major stride in reducing poverty, including meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015, these gains had outpaced the ability of the system to keep accurate records in most social protection programs.

The establishment of the GNHR to gather data and boost targeting, Ms Dadzie said, was, therefore, a crucial step in ensuring sustainability.

The Social Protection Dialogue series are expected to provide platform for engagement with a wider stakeholder audience on matters concerning social protection and for the formulation of pragmatic strategies to facilitate effective targeting, so as to ensure that the right persons benefit from a particular intervention.

They are also expected to highlight the benefits of a common targeting mechanism as well as examine Ghana’s current targeting mechanism so as to determine how it could facilitate the measurement of the impact of other quasi-social protection programs.

This year’s dialogue was on the theme: ‘Ensuring effective targeting systems for sustainable development and implementation of social protection interventions in Ghana.’

Source: Government of Ghana