Report on ‘Trends of Poverty and Inequality’ in Ghana has revealed that as per 2017 population projections, 6.8 million persons were captured as poor and, therefore, could not afford to spend GHS4.82 per day in 2016/17.

According to the Head of Industrial Statistics at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Mr. Anthony Krakah,
2.4 million people representing 8.2% were extremely poor to the extent that putting all their expenditure together, they could not afford to spend GHS2.69 per day in 2016/17 on food (GHS982.1) per year.

Mr. Krakah, made the indications at a day’s Multi stakeholder Conference on Pro-Poor Intervention Financing, organised by SEND-Ghana, under its “Addressing Inequality Through Pro-Poor Budget Advocacy (AIPBA) Project to discuss interventions that are geared towards poverty reduction in the country.

By the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) Ghana living Standards Survey Round 7 (GLSS R7), on Ghana’s Poverty Profile, aims to provide information on household consumption and expenditure; data for the estimation of poverty and inequality indices at the national and sub-national levels; and data on employment and labour underutilisation in the country.

The report further sort to provide information on health, education, asset ownership and access to services Ghana has conducted in seven rounds of living standards survey. The seventh round was implemented in 2016/17.

Mr. Krakah explained that, poverty remained a rural phenomenon with the rural savannah still ranking highest in poverty rates among the ecological zones and it was the only zone that experienced increases in poverty rates in 2016/17.

He said, five regions experienced poverty declines.
Greater Accra had the least poverty rate, Northern and Upper East experienced significant increases in poverty rates, whilst Upper West remained the region with the highest poverty rate in the country.

He further indicated that, 26% of all poor persons in Ghana were found in the Northern Region, which has over the period contributed to poverty more than any other region. Adding that, “The three northern regions contribute more than 40% to national poverty. In Ghana, growth has remained the engine of poverty reduction. In the absence of inequality, poverty reduction will have been larger.”

He also revealed that, most households headed by farmers remained the poorest in Ghana and declined among the ones with heads engaged as self-employed (non-agric). In terms of asset ownership, the percentage of households owning other durable goods decreased in urban areas, apart from mobile phones, fans and television.

Mr. Thomas Boateng Quaison, the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, on his part said, the Ministry was working hand in hand with all other interventions to improve the poverty situation of people benefiting from the programme.

Adding that, presently about 400,000 households were benefitting from the LEAP programme and they depended greatly on the GLSS Report to do their targeting for the programme in the country.

The Country Director of SEND-Ghana, Mr. George Osei-Bimpeh, in his remarks noted that, they had partnered FORD Foundation to address inequality and reduction of poverty in the country few years back.

However, the event was aimed to provide the Ministry of Finance the opportunity to respond to how it is addressing issues raised in the GLSS Report.

“went round the country to collate inputs from the people and have submitted the Report to Parliament for action. So SEND-Ghana will continue the fight until the battle against poverty is won. I hope 2019 will address some of the problems to harness welfare distribution across the country,” Mr. Bimpeh said.

Mr. Bayon Godfrey Tangu, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wa East, and also the Chairman of Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee, also underscored the need to restructure Ghana’s schools’ curricula and factor entrepreneurial skills training in order to curb extreme poverty in the country.

According to him, there was the need to train school children in entrepreneurial skills to empower them to be self-reliant after their education.

He aldo called for the redefinition of Ghana’s agricultural sector to bring the majority of the people in that sector out of poverty, to make it more lucrative as a business venture.

“We also need to review our tax system to relieve the poor in our society. As a country, we should be able to tax the rich to take care of the poor. Collectively, we should all be fighting poverty, which has become a social problem,” Mr. Tangu emphasized.

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