At the commemoration of the 2022 World Disability Day, the Obuasi Branch of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations charged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to factor in the needs of its members in the planning and implementation of policies.
The 1992 Constitution ensures that the welfare and well-being of Ghanaians with various incapacities are guaranteed. Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution enjoins duty bearers to ensure that all public spaces have the appropriate facilities for persons with disability (PWDs).
Additionally, incentives are to be given to PWDs engaged in business and also to institutions to employ them in significant numbers.
Then also, the Constitution charges Parliament to enact laws to ensure the enforcement of provisions in safeguarding PWDs.
The Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) elaborates on provisions of the 1992 Constitution by ensuring the seamless integration of PWDs into society and communities. Even a cursory reading of the Act shows that PWDs in Ghana ought not to have any complaints if the Act were to be implemented fully.
Act 715 outlines principles governing the functions of district assemblies, which include ensuring the participation of the vulnerable in all spheres of activities, and ensuring their welfare and protection.
To achieve that, three per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) is devoted to PWDs in districts, with the National Council for Persons with Disability providing guidelines for the disbursement of the funds.
The demand of the Obuasi Branch of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations is valid and backed by law. Indeed, more than two decades after the passage of Act 715, PWDs ought not to have been urging local authorities to do what is required for them.
Ghana should have by now been building on gains made in making the lives of PWDs more comfortable. It can be done with the commitment of duty bearers.
It is true that Ghana cannot resolve all the challenges impeding the progress of those living with various forms of disabilities. The Daily Graphic, however, believes that the nation is on the right path towards achieving the goals.
We have the rules and laws, and critically, we have integrated the welfare of PWDs into the local governance system. That is a good start, but we can do more.
For instance, if the payment of the DACF can be done in a timely manner so that those with disabilities in various communities across the country can benefit, it will go a long way to improve their lives.
Fortunately, the NCPD, under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGWSP) has so far held meetings bringing together all within the ecosystem to further improve on the progress being made towards the achievement of the country’s commitments towards PWDs.
That is also a good effort, as during the meetings, resources committed to improving the lives of PWDs, as well as a directory of policy, partners, programmes and goals in line with the Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework were discussed and outlined.
It is the hope and expectation of the Daily Graphic that the Ministry of Finance will commit the resources needed to ensure that all these efforts yield the required results.
In reality, including the concerns and challenges of PWDs in our development processes and efforts is a plus to Ghana.
We must remember that disability can occur to anyone at all, and at any point in time. Let us therefore commit to ensuring that a standard of inclusion is maintained for PWDs.
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