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While acknowledging that the country was scoring some points with its social protection policies, the organisation noted that it was important for government to develop better targeting mechanism to add meaning to the usefulness of those policies.

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Addressing representatives at the Greater Accra Regional Forum to collate citizens input into the 2017 Budget, Mr Siapha Kamara, the Chief Executive Officer of SEND West Africa, said the characteristics of poverty had not changed.

He said it required better targeting mechanisms in order to fight the inequalities that existed in the society especially in the area of health and education.

“Our budgets must target these poor people directly and the most important tool we can use to make Ghana work for equity is the budget,” he said.

Mr Kamara said the burden of prosperity was being shouldered by the poor adding that “if we can make our budget target the poor directly with less intermediaries so that the poor can get access, the better they will be.”

Last year SEND Ghana, in line with government’s efforts to ensure citizens participation in the budget process, submitted inputs focusing on two key sectors of the economy: Education and Health, which were largely addressed in the budget though there were still some outstanding issues.

There are virtually few libraries in the country and even the few have serious infrastructural challenges.

In view of this, some citizens have asked that the Ministry of Finance to make it mandatory for district assemblies to use part of their common fund to promote district community libraries.

They asked for the strengthening of maternal, child and reproductive health units of health facilities and improvement in service delivery in order to decrease maternal deaths and teenage pregnancies.

SEND Ghana’s “Making the Budget Work for Ghana” project is funded by the World Bank through the Global Partnership for Social Accountability initiative.

The overall objective is to improve access and quality of service in priority programmes in the health and education sectors in 30 poor districts in Ghana by strengthening accountability and transparency in the budget process.

The organisation is currently collating citizens’ views in Greater Accra, Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions to influence the health and education budget for 2017 through series of public fora.

Source: GNA

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