GHANA NATIONAL SOCIAL PROTECTION POLICY
November 17, 2015 12:35 pm
Sustainable development involves the strategic mobilisation and deployment of a nation’s endowments, particularly its human resources. This is evident in the international development frameworks, particularly the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the successor agenda for post-2015, the Sustainable Goals (SDGs) as they seek to ensure security and inclusion for all.
Ghana has experienced considerable economic growth and poverty reduction over the past two decades. However, persisting economic and social inequalities indicate the need for the intensification, harmonization and sustenance of interventions that have worked and innovations to deal with the more intractable problems. One of the objectives of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II (2014-2017) is to produce a knowledgeable, well-trained, disciplined, highly productive, and healthy population with the capacity to drive and sustain the socio-economic transformation of the country over the long- term. The Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (2014 to 2020) emphasizes reducing income disparities, enhancing access to formal social security and improving targeting of social protection programmes. It also identifies enhanced funding and cost-effectiveness, effective institutional arrangements for sectoral collaboration on poverty reduction.
Ghana has implemented several programmes with social protection prospects. A National Social Protection Strategy was developed in 2007 and revised in 2012. A Social Protection Rationalization Study conducted in 2013 established the need for a holistic National Social Protection Policy. Further impetus for the policy was provided by Cabinet’s approval in June, 2014 of strategic, oversight and monitoring roles of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, which included leading the development of such a policy. The Ministry was also required to work closely with the Ministry of Finance to ensure consistency in the flow of funds to social protection programmes and for the progressive implementation of a national social protection floor.
Ghana is undergoing transformation on several fronts including the transition to middle income country status; information and communication advancements; and increasing urbanization. The changes in community, cultural and family arrangements have implications for traditional social protection arrangements. A modern system of social protection has the potential to have significant impacts on incomes, equitable development, and increased access to social services for the extreme poor and vulnerable. There are opportunities for more responsive social development through the dialogue and social accountability that vibrant civil society organizations and an informed media can facilitate.
Ghana has various national and international commitments that make a coherent, integrated social protection framework imperative. The Fourth Republican Constitution provides a basis for social protection in the Directive Principles of State Policy. International commitments include those to the African Union (AU) to pursue comprehensive programmes of social protection as outlined in the African Union Social Policy Framework (2003), the Livingstone Declaration (2006), the Ouagadogou Declaration and Plan of Action (2004, 2008) and the AU Heads of State Common Agenda for Action Post-2015. The nation’s performance on meeting the decent work indicator in MDG 1 as well as other relevant aspects of MDGs 2,4,5,6, and 7 all point to the need for coordinated action and tracking for clear results.
The social protection policy provides a good opportunity to demonstrate action on Ghana’s endorsement of the SDGs. In particular, Goal 1 commits the nation to working assiduously to end poverty in all its forms everywhere in the country. Goal 8 deals with promoting full and productive employment and decent work which is key to Ghana’s productive inclusion effort. Goal 16 includes providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The National Social Protection Policy provides a framework for delivering social protection coherently, effectively and efficiently in a way that is holistic and properly targeted. It defines social protection for Ghana as “a range of actions carried out by the state and other parties in response to vulnerability and poverty, which seek to guarantee relief for those sections of the population who for any reason are not able to provide for themselves”. It provides an institutional framework for coordination and as well as stakeholder collaboration in monitoring and ensuring accountability. It is linked to range of legal instruments and policies that provide a framework within which the obligations to various target groups may be justified, implemented, regulated and advocated.
It embraces a strategic vision of an all-inclusive and socially empowered society through the provision of sustainable mechanisms for the protection of persons living in situations of extreme poverty and related vulnerability and exclusion. It supports the principle that every Ghanaian matters and is capable of contributing to national development. It therefore aspires to close the inequality gap and ensure total inclusion for all Ghanaians. It seeks to promote the well-being of Ghanaians through an integrated platform of effective social assistance, social and productive inclusion, social services and social insurance.
The short-term focuses on being rehabilitative, restorative, protective and facilitating. This will include the implementation of five flagship programmes, namely, the Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW), the School Feeding Programme (SFP), the National Health Insurance (NHIS) Exemptions and the Basic Education Capitation Grants. The medium term efforts are preventive and promoting. The long-term orientation is transformation. Operationally, it proposes reforms to programming, targeting, funding, public understanding of social protection and knowledge management. The policy’s strategic imperatives are coordination and complementarity; emergency assistance; social welfare and facilitation services; productive inclusion; decent work; capacity and capability building; and mainstreaming gender and disability issues in social protection.
It is our hope that over the next fifteen years of implementation, we shall all work together to reduce by more than half the proportion of men, women and children living in all forms of poverty; achieve full and productive employment for all, including young people and people with disabilities and substantially increase access to formal social security for Ghanaians in working age and older persons.