The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme, has commenced the biometric registration of beneficiaries in the country. This is aimed at capturing beneficiary data onto the E-Zwich platform to facilitate funds transfer electronically.
The LEAP Programme Manager Dzigbordi Agbekpornu who disclosed this in an interview said the biometric registration, which is nation-wide, will cover all beneficiary households in the 185 LEAP districts across the country.
The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement System (GhIPSS) has been contracted by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), the oversight Ministry for LEAP, to roll out the Electronic Payment (e-Payment) system for the programme. This follows a successful e-payment pilot by GhIPSS in some selected districts.
LEAP Programme is a conditional and unconditional cash transfer being implemented by the Department of Social Development under the MoGCSP. The programme aims at reducing poverty by increasing consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extreme poor and vulnerable households with orphans and vulnerable children, elderly persons 65 years and above without any support and severely disabled persons without any productive capacity and recently, extreme poor pregnant mothers and children under 2 years old.
Mr. Agbekpornu explained that the E-Payment system is aimed at improving the cash transfer arrangement and make it more robust, efficient and secure. He said it also comes with a second level biometric verification, which will authenticate the identity of LEAP beneficiaries, avoid the issues of intermediaries and prevent impersonation during payments.
The system will lead to financial inclusion as beneficiaries would automatically be enrolled into the banking system. Beneficiaries will also have greater control over management of their funds as they will decide when to access funds, unlike the manual on the spot payment system. Additionally, it will deliver accurate and timely generation of payment reports for the LEAP programme.
The LEAP Programme Manager was excited about the opportunity to pay LEAP beneficiaries electronically and hope that the e-Payment system will inject efficiency into the operations of the programme.
GhIPSS together with some Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) financial institutions are on hand to enroll the beneficiaries and issue them with e-zwich cards.