The Department of Social Welfare and Community Development in the Bongo District, Upper East Region, has disbursed the 46th to 48th cycle of payments of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) to beneficiaries in the district. The amount, totaling GH¢533,082.00, was disbursed to 3,526 households.


The LEAP) programme, is a social cash transfer programme that provides cash and health insurance to the extremely poor households across the country.


The Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE), Hon. Peter Ayamga Ayinbisa, who announced this during the Bongo District Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, added that 400 new households would be enrolled onto the LEAP programme this year.


The District is the first among its peers in the Upper East Region to hold the town hall meeting since the national launch last month in the Tema Metropolis.


The DCE also disclosed that the Assembly has since disbursed the 2016 fourth quarter component of the Disability Fund to beneficiaries in the district, adding that Government had increased the quantum of the Disability Fund from 2% to 3%. This increment is to make available more funds for the implementation of programmes targeted at People Leaving with Disabilities.


Hon. Ayinbisa also touched on education and gave the assurance that, Government was doing everything possible to ensure that many more children of school-going age got attracted to education, motivated to enroll into the school system, stay in there and complete. He said Government was doing that through the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP). He stated “in my district, 23 schools are currently benefiting from the GSFP and there are plans initiated to raise this number to 30 percent within the year. Meanwhile, Government has since paid all caterers for two (2) terms of service to our schools in the district while plans are far advanced to clear a remainder of two (2) terms arrears owed these caterers”. He however said the contractual engagements with the caterers ended in July, 2017 and that new ones were being interviewed for recruitment.


However, Mr. Ayinbisa expressed his displeasure about the poor performance of schools in his district in the 2016 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE). He noted that, the district only managed a performance score of about 16 percent while sister districts in the region did far better. He charged the GES directorate to step up its supervisory roles and also ensure that, delinquent teachers were given appropriate sanctions. He pledged that Government would provide the needed teaching and materials for the enhancement of academic work.


According to the DCE, since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration assumed office, up to five months of arrears of allowances owed traditional rulers in the area have been paid up. He explained that the allowances were financial assistance the Government extended to traditional authorities to help in the day-to-day management of their traditional areas.


He also hinted of the opening of a MASLOC office in the district soon and that two persons had already been recruited to man the office while, office space had been secured awaiting the start of operations.


On Government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, the DCE revealed that his district received a total of 14,356 bags of fertilizer. Giving the details, he said 8,810 bags of NPK fertilizer, 4,130 bags Sulphate of Ammonia, 1,385 of UREA and 31 bags Yara Legume were received by the District’s Department of Agriculture. The consignment also included assorted high-yielding seeds comprising Maize – 200 bags, Soya Bean – 21 bags, Rice Seed – 205 bags, Pepper – 150 sachets and 140 sachets of tomato. Meanwhile, a total of 4,321 farmers have been registered under the programme. The number is made up of 3,319 males and 1,002 females. So far, 1,527 farmers have received their share of these fertilizers and seeds.


Upper East Regional Minister Hon. Rockson Ayine Bukari, who graced the occasion, promised that government would continue organising the Town Hall Meetings as the concept created the platform for the citizenry to assess the efforts and programmes government had put in place. The platform also gives the political leadership a fine opportunity to account for their stewardship and as well, explain government policies and programmes to the understanding of the local people and community leaders to solicit the needed feedback.


Hon. Bukari, however charged the citizenry to also honour their duties and responsibilities to the state by paying their taxes promptly and helping to watch over state property in their communities as well as help mobilise local resources to maintain and repair public facilities that government provides.


All heads of decentralised departments in the Bongo District, the Police commander and other security chiefs, a few regional heads of department, the Paramount Chief of Bongo – Naba Baba Salifu Alemyaarum, and his divisional chiefs and queen mothers actively participated in the town hall meeting. Representatives of political parties, identifiable youth groups as well as executives from the Ghana Federation of the Disable also took part in the deliberations.


Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam)