Mr. Yaw Ofori Dabra, President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), on Tuesday accused some District Chief Executives (DCEs) of being impediments to the smooth implementation of the disbursement of the two per cent allocation of the Districts Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to support their activities.
He said the intervention by the government to alleviate and improve the living conditions of the majority of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) was a big relief to the Organisations of PWDs and the Civil Society Organisations in disability work.
"Sadly enough, our joy and hope were short lived when the president's own chief executives who should execute government policies and programmes became impediments to the smooth and effective implementation of this otherwise kind and humane policy action of government," he said.
Mr Dabra was addressing participants at a decentralization workshop organised by the Public Agenda, an Accra based newspaper, to discuss "Persons With Disabilities and the DACF: Rationale Behind and Modalities of Accessing the Fund".
The forum sponsored by Rise And Voice Initiative, a non-governmental organization attracted PWDs from all the three categories - visually impaired, deaf and physically disabled, DCEs, Department of Social Welfare, the Media and Civil Society Organisations.
In the 2007 guidelines for the utilization of the DACF, two per cent of each MMDAs share of the fund was required to be used in support for PWDs.
Mr Dabra said right from the inception of the scheme, the initiative has been fraught with daunting challenges like uncooperative attitudes of many DCEs who in spite of the mandatory nature of the allocation blatantly ignore it and misapply or divert the funds to other areas of development.
"Some also grudgingly give out a tiny portion of the actual amount and claim that they have used the funds to serve the needs of some PWDs they themselves have identified or approached them in their offices," he said.
He said all these challenges threatened the sustainability of the scheme and urged the Administrator of the DACF to give mandatory guidelines to spell out the use of the money, open a separate accounts for the funds to be lodged in and established an oversight committee involving the assemblies and the PWDs to disburse and monitor the use of the funds.
Mr Eric Osae Oduru, Lecturer, Institute of Local Government Studies, called for a collaborative efforts of the National Council for PWDs, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, the Ministries of Finance, Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Manpower, Youth and Employment and other stakeholders to formulate appropriate guidelines to make the scheme a reality.
However, he said, an account should be taken of how previous transfers have been utilized by the various MMDAS in promoting the well-being of PWDs.
Mr Magnus Nicol, the Administrator of the DACF, said the fund was to assist activities of the PWDs and could be accessed through the Department of Social Welfare.
He urged the GFD and the assemblies to collaborate to set out guidelines as to how the fund should be used.
Mr Micheal Boadi, Project Coordinator, Public Agenda/RAVI, said for a comprehensive social protection framework to be consistent with the National Disability Act, it had to cover the vulnerable and marginalised in society.
Mr Kwabena Appaih-Pinkrah, Vice Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, urged the MMDAs to initiate the establishment of committees to include representatives of all PWDs groupings and the budget officers to oversee the disbursement of the fund.