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20.12.2007 General News

Bagbin: 10 yr period for implementation of disability act must be reviewed

By The Statesman

The Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin is calling for a review of the ten year grace period within which public buildings will be made accessible to persons with disability captured in the of the disability Act which was passed in August last year.

In his view, the ten year grace period given before the implementation of the act is rather too long and must be ratified to ensure that persons with disability have access to all facilities in the country within the shortest possible time.

Speaking in support of a statement on persons with disability made on the floor of the House yesterday, by the Deputy Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Mr Bagbin suggested, that a team be set up to sensitise architects to include special features for persons with disability.

Other Members who spoke in support of the statement expressed similar views saying that owners of existing public building should endevour to create space for people with disabilities.

The maker of the statement, told the House that research indicates that the World has over 650 million persons living with disabilities. Besides, two billion people daily live with disabilities.

He said, "disability in our part of the World is seen as a charity issue, a disabled person is not seen as a person who can have a life, get a job and live independently even to think of him/her enjoying his/her fundamental human needs".

This according to him is very much against human rights, There is a huge need for awareness work in our country.

The Deputy Majority leader observed that as part of its oversight role, the committee on Education, and the Committee on Employment and Social Welfare have undertaken site visits to some government projects to ensure that such projects are disability-friendly but the situation on the ground is nothing to write home about.

He called on the House to ratify the Convention to end the injustice, discrimination and violation of rights that confront most persons with disabilities. Saying that "The Act passed by this august House on its own is not enough, if we do not add our voice and hands to the ratification which will bond us together with other countries and organisations to promote, protect and project persons with disabilities".

Meanwhile the Electoral Commission's budget sum GH¢ 36,803,056 million, which was deferred by the House because the Minority felt it was meager was approved the House with a direction from the Speaker Ebenezer Sakyi- Hughes that a supplementary budget for the commission be brought before the house before February.

Member of the Minority side who hitherto disagreed with the amount earmarked for the EC agreed and the question was put for approval.

Again the budget sum ofGH¢236,091 million for the National Media Commission which was also deferred due to inconsistencies in the report by the Special Budget Committee has been approved.

A sum of GH¢21,310,291 million has also been approved for the services of that Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment.

But the House failed to approve the budget sum of 14,049,117 for the Audit Service because the Minority felt it was too meager and woefully inadequate for all their activities of the service.

According to Haruna Iddrisu, (NDC, Tamale South) the service has to show its presence in all 192 districts in the country but the report of the committee, the Service has offices in only 60 districts.

According to him, though the Service saves about ¢100 million for the country, the budget that has been allocated to it is lower that what was given to them last year which in itself was very inadequate.

Though Osei Prempeh, Deputy Attorny General called on the House to approve the leadership stood it down for more discussion on the allocation.

By Cynthia Boakye