PMadam Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the decision making of the extractive industry.
She said although, they constituted a considerable percentage of the population of Ghana, their full potentials were yet to be fully harnessed for the development of the country.
The Minister who said this at a stakeholders’ forum explained that, the inclusion was the reason why, her outfit was integrating disability perspectives into the various activities of the ministry to enhance their full potentials.
The National Council on Persons with Disability under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with Africa Centre for Energy Policy and Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations organised the stakeholder forum in Accra.
The forum was necessitated by the need to bring stakeholders together to deliberate on the effective mainstreaming of disability in the extractive sector and to ensure that persons with disabilities benefited equally from the revenue and resources from the extractive sector.
Above all, the forum was to demystify the perception that the extractive industry was risky for persons with disabilities. Dignitaries, including the Deputy Minister for Energy and representatives from the Ministry of Business Development participated.
Participants from the extractive sector included; Newmont, Ghana National Petroleum Authority, Precious Minerals Mining Company, Ghana Gas, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Anglogold Ashanti, Persues Mining, Rigworld and Petroleum Commission.
Ms Morrison added that her Ministry would put up a centre for children with cerebral palsy for easy access to therapy and also highlighted on the issue of sign language interpretation in hospitals especially. She commended the stakeholders in the extractive sector and called on corporate bodies to support persons with disabilities to contribute their quota towards national development.
Dr Amin Adam, Deputy Minister for Energy in an address said he was delighted that the extractive industry was called upon to discuss inclusiveness of persons with disabilities. He stated that their inclusion was paramount as it would empower them with the skills and expertise so to get job placement in the extractive industry.
The Deputy Minister said Government through the Ministry of Energy had communicated to Oil Companies to develop Gender and Disability Policies; to integrate Gender and Persons with disabilities into their operations.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakariah in her welcome address stated that, the forum was important because her outfit in collaboration with its stakeholders operated on the theme “Leaving no One Behind.”
She said issues of disability were important to the Government and the Ministry, which was mandated to address their challenges.
Mr Yaw Ofori-Debra, Board Chairman for the National Council on Persons with Disability said although issues of disability over the years were relegated to the bottom of the national agenda, it was currently, given recognition as a human rights issue.
The Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Mr Benjamin Boakye said his organisation was in the process of empowering persons with disabilities in the society in order for them to contribute to the development of society.