Parliament urges government to resource Persons With Disability

Mr. Edward Doe Ajaho —  Speaker of Parliament

Mr. Edward Doe Ajaho —
Speaker of Parliament

Parliament has called on the government to resource the National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPD) to monitor the compliance of the Persons with Disability Act.

According to the House, the moratorium on the provision of access and facilities for Persons With Disability (PWD) would elapse in 2016, but most buildings and structures do not have access and facilities for PWD.

It has therefore, urged the government to resource the Council next year to enable it to monitor and ensure full compliance with the provisions under the law.

This came to light in Parliament yesterday, when the House was in the process of approving an amount of GH¢43.6 million for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and its various departments and agencies, to finance their programmes for the 2015 fiscal year.

The Persons with Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) states that, “The owners or occupiers of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by persons with disability”.

However, a report by the Joint Committee on Gender and Children and Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the estimates observed that, the NCPD did not have the full complement of staff to monitor the compliance of the Act, because the structures for regional offices were not established.

“The committee observed that the 10-year moratorium on the provision of the access and facilities for PWDs would elapse in 2016. We, therefore, recommend that the Ministry of Finance should make substantial resources available to the NCPD to have full complement of staff at its regional offices to monitor the compliance of the Disability Act,” it said.

Touching on the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill, the committee observed that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection had finalised the drafting of the bill and would present it to Cabinet for approval by the end of the year.

It said the bill, which sought to help address gender imbalances in the society, was currently going through validation.

The report also observed that most departments under the ministry did not receive funds for their approved budget.

“For the 2014 fiscal year, the Department of Social Welfare was given only 10 per cent of the approved budget for goods and services, and the National Council for Persons with Disability had a six per cent release and the Department of Gender received only 27 per cent release,” it said.

It was also noted that although funds had been committed to the departments and warrants had been received, funds were yet to be released.

“The untimely release of funds, is having an impact on the performance of the departments, given that they render services to the aged, the vulnerable and the disabled,” it said.

The committee recommended to the Ministry of Finance to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the ministry’s budgetary requirements were released promptly to ensure that the vulnerable and the aged in the society were properly catered for.

Touching on the moratorium that had been placed on the inter-country adoptions pending the ratification of the Hague Convention on Inter-country adoptions, the committee urged the ministry to speed up the process to ensure that inter-country adoptions conformed to international standards.

On the treatment of obstetric fistula, the committee observed that this year, the ministry had been able to treat only 82 fistula cases with sponsorship from the ECOWAS Gender Centre.

“The committee is of the view that the number of cases treated was too low, considering the fact that there are between 3000 and 5000 fistula cases in the Central Region alone,” it said.

The committee recommended to the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry to liaise with the Ministry of Health to streamline the treatment of fistula in the country.

By Yaw Kyei

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