The Executive Director of Child Rights International, Bright Appiah, has asked the government not to allow any external pressure to make Ghana abandon any of its social intervention programmes, especially, the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
He has also called on the government to come clear on its position regarding key social intervention programmes in the wake of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme.
Mr Appiah made the observations when he spoke to TV3 on the topic “IMF Impacts on Ghana’s Social Interventions and the Vulnerable” in Accra.
Protect Vulnerable Group
Mr. Appiah said despite Ghana’s economic challenges, it would be suicidal for any government to implement any programme that would disadvantage the vulnerable groups in the society.
He explained that social intervention programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and free SHS programmes have helped many vulnerable groups and as a result produced exceptional benefits.
Citing the free SHS programme as an example, Mr. Appiah said enrolment rate of school children “is currently between 92 and 95%, which is amazing”.
With regards to the LEAP, he said the programme is one of the well-established social intervention programmes with over 350,000 households’ beneficiaries.
“If the vehicle is giving us result, we need to strengthen it and channel more resources there,” Mr. Appiah said.
Commenting on the rollout of the various social intervention programmes, Mr. Appiah said there must be an open discussion to ensure that any mechanism the government planned to implement would strengthen it efficiently.
“If the foundation of these programmes is shaken because of the IMF impact, the country need to take a look at how best to protect the vulnerable groups so that we can position ourselves in this difficult times,” he said.
Describing the free SHS as a unique concept and judging it from the benefits seen so far, Mr. Appiah said Ghana must do everything within it capacity to protect and enhance it delivery.
“All the social intervention programmes is a fraction of our GDP. Let strengthen it delivery instead of reviewing it downwards,” he said.
Child Labour In Cocoa Growing Areas
Touching on child labour, Mr. Appiah said despite the challenges faced, steps had been taken by the country to address those issues, adding that the issue was not as prevalent as it used to be.
Rather, he raised concerns regarding children involved with galamsey, indicating that a policy must be developed to address the issue else “once these children are exposed to some form of daily income, they will never stop”.
“The lack of policy from the government on this issue is worrying and could spell doom if left unattended to,” Mr. Appiah added.