Assemblies default in release of PWDs fund

Beneficiaries with the guests

Beneficiaries with the guests

Close to eight months after the government released Common Fund allocation arrears for Persons with Disability (PWD), some district assemblies in the Greater Accra Region are yet to release the monies to the beneficiaries.

The Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, Irene Nana Torshie Addo in January this year released GH¢ 28 million as arrears for the 2016 fourth quarter and 2017 first, second and third quarters, in response to the cries of the PWDs.

In addition, the administrator had also released GH ₵ 7.8 million in July this year for the first quarter of 2018.

 

But out of the 15 ‘old’ district assemblies in the Greater Accra region, only nine had disbursed   the funds to   the beneficiaries.

 

They include La-Dadekotopon, Ledzokuku Krowor, Shai Osudoku, La Nkwantanang- Madina, Ga East, Ga West, Ga Central and Ga South Municipal Assemblies.

 

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Kpone Katamanso, Ada East, Ada West, Ningo Prampram and Adentan Municipal Assemblies on the other hand, have since January not disbursed the funds.

 

The Greater Accra President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Mr. Anthony Adarkwah who made the disclosure in an interview with the Ghanaian Times said the development was widespread in most assemblies across the country.

 

“We have found that generally the delay is endemic in all assemblies. What we have realised is that when the central government transfers the common fund, the three per cent share for PWDs becomes a tough war,” he said.

 

Asked what could possibly cause the undue delays, the President of the GFD accused some civil servants at the assemblies for contributing to the woes of PWDs.

“There are some civil servants, particularly people who work in the Audit and Finance Departments, who exercise some power over the money and just want to sabotage the system for personal gains.

“Sometimes a memo is sent to them and it will take months before they approve even when the district fund managers had worked on everything or the Municipal Chief Executive had appended their signatures to it. It takes months, weeks and sometimes years before we receive payment,” he pointed out.

Mr. Adarkwah asked the government “to strengthen its monitoring team at the various assemblies to pay strict attention to our common fund to serve the best interest of PWDS.”

He, however, advised PWDS against misappropriating funds meant to cushion their lives saying, “Let us not think that due to our predicament, we are above the law and can do whatever we like.

“You must be sure to put whatever you receive into good use. If not, and you are caught to have misappropriated the item or money received, we will ensure you face the full rigours of the law,” he warned.

The Public Relations Officer of the AMA, Gilbert Ankrah reacting to the story confirmed that the assembly was yet to disburse funds to PWDs since the beginning of this year.

 

He, however, indicated that “there are processes we follow to ensure things are done in the right way though that is not to hold brief for the delays. It is not sabotage, the AMA recognises the importance of PWDs and we have them at heart.”

 

Mr. Ankrah further submitted that “we engage them regularly and have begun an exercise with Social Welfare and the Gender Ministry to clear them off the streets and set them up in economically viable jobs to ensure they lead meaningful lives.”

 

The Head of Social Development at the Adentan Municipal Mrs. Clara Sowah said the assembly had paid school fees of some PWDs though she was unable to give the exact figure that had been disbursed for that purpose saying, “the details are with the accounts department.”

Asked whether other beneficiaries had received their share aside the payment of school fees, she said, “It is in the system, we are working on it.”

 

Meanwhile the paper was unable to reach out to other defaulting assemblies as of the time of going to bed.

 

The District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) Act 1993, Act 455 stipulates that a two per cent allocation be made to PWDs out of the total amount received for developmental works at the assemblies.

It is to reduce poverty among all PWDs particularly those outside the formal sector of employment to give them a dignified life through cash donations or setting them up in economically viable businesses to become self-sufficient.

Abigail Annoh

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