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27.02.2006 Regional News

District assemblies asked to employ persons with disability


Elmina, Feb. 27, GNA - The deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD), Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, on Sunday echoed calls on district assemblies to implement the national policy on the employment of persons with disability by including qualified persons with disabilities on the appointment list of the assemblies. This, he said, would afford such persons the opportunity to participate and contribute meaningfully in the decision making process of the respective districts and also articulate the needs and concerns of their constituents.

Mr Odoom said this at a day's sensitisation workshop for the parliamentary select committee on employment, social welfare and state enterprises, at Elmina.

The workshop, which was organised by the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, was to deliberate on the persons with Disability Bill and strategize towards the enhancement of life and conditions of physically, challenged people in the society.

He said the passage of the bill was long overdue and urged the participants to discuss the draft bill dispassionately to move faster towards its passage for the betterment of people with disabilities. Mr Odoom said the issue of physically challenged people was increasingly being recognized as not only very critical, but also a human right issue in the overall national development agenda and that it was for this reason, the government was making strenuous efforts to put the necessary structures in place to address the situation. He gave the assurance that his ministry would continue to give the various district assemblies the needed support that would enable them to take care of the needs of person with disabilities, adding that government last year directed that 5% of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) be utilized to support initiatives by persons with disabilities.

Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda , Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, for his part, said issues of person with disability have over the years shifted from medical model to a social one and there was therefore, the need to protect the rights of such people in the society.

He however, regretted that the draft bill has been on the shelves since 1993 and it was only now that it was going to be transformed into a law, and urged the participants to give the document the due attention it deserves to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and the nation at large.

Mr Adda suggested that the consultation on the bill be expanded to persons with disabilities themselves, their families and the relevant institutions to make the Act a living document.