28 August 2017

Gov’t owes disability share of Common Fund 8 months arrears

The government has failed to pay the share of the District Assembly Common Fund allocated to Persons with Disability (PWD) for the past eight months.

The leadership of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), the umbrella body of Persons with Disability, has described the situation as unacceptable and affecting their operations and programs.

District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) Act 1993, ACT 455, stipulates that a two per cent allocation be made to Persons with Disability out of the District Assembly Common Fund.

The aims of the DACF for PWDs are to reduce poverty among all PWDs particularly those outside the formal sector of employment, and enhance their social image through dignified labour.

But the Ashanti Region Chairman for the Federation, Alfred Tabil Amponsah, says the Federation has not received their allocation since December 2016.

This means the objective of the Fund to enable beneficiaries to provide educational support for themselves and their children cannot be met.

Again, the objective to build the capacity of the Organisation of Persons with Disability (OPWD) in the districts to enable them to advocate and assert their rights and raise awareness and sensitisation on disability issues cannot be met.

Ultimately, the objective to support Persons with Disabilities to have access to technical aids and other assistive devices and equipment is being thwarted.

The leadership of the Federation is, however, suspecting some foul play on the part of the MMDAs and therefore want answers.

Former Chairman, Prince Debra observes, though the money is woefully inadequate and often delays, the Federation says it is unprecedented to delay for close to 8months.

Mr. Tabil Amponsah is therefore worried the situation is affecting both the day-to-day running of the federation, upcoming programmes and members’ upkeep and well-being.

The major source of income for the federation is the 2 per cent allocation of the District Assembly Common Fund accessed from the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

These vulnerable members rely on the fund to support the payment of their school fees, medical bills and the purchase of their assistive devices.

Pressing is the pending bi-annual congress meeting that converges the various groups under the Federation to deliberate on issues bothering members and the way forward hangs in the balance.

The congress for the Blind Union, for instance, is slated for the 31st August 2017 to 4th September.

Each district branch is supposed to source for funding from the PWD share of the Common Fund, and although letters of request have been sent to the various assemblies the money has not been released.

Sadly, Mr. Tably Amponsah in a statement hints the Common Fund for the various MMDAs has been released but worried the two percent component is yet to be released.

“This used not to be so. All the funds are released simultaneously. The members at the various districts rely on this fund to pay for their feeding and facility user fees. We are appealing to the administrator of the common fund to expedite action and release the fund as a matter of urgency in order not to jeopardise our congress. We have never experienced such a thing ever since the disability common fund was introduced. It is a surprise to us.”

Meanwhile, during the vetting of the Administrator of Common Fund, Naa Torshie proposed new measures including borrowing from banks to end the perennial challenge of delay in the payment of Assemblies share of the Common Fund.

The congress is few days ahead and there is no indication payment will be made soon.

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