Accra, March 18, GNA – The National Disability Network of Ghana has appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to appoint a special advisor on disability affairs at the Presidency.
This is to ensure that the President prioritises disability issues to ensure full inclusion and effective participation of Persons with Disability (PWDs) in all sectors of the country.
Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, the Chairman of the National Disability Network Task Force, at a press conference in Accra, said appointment of the special disability advisor would “help the Government to prioritise issues of disability, advice the President appropriately, and co-ordinating issues relating to disability”.
He urged the Government to convert the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) into an independent national authority on persons with disability due to the “cross-cutting nature of matters pertaining to disability as well as the scope of work and functions of the said body.”
Mr Williams said the creation of a national authority on disability would also enhance “efficiency and effectiveness in prosecuting the National Disability Agenda as stipulated in varied pro-disability legislations and policies in the country”.
Since the establishment of the Council in 2009, it was still struggling to attain the full complement of its staff as well as challenges such as the unavailability of funds and the absence of autonomy.
“The Council, per the current structure, is only a department under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection,” he said, adding that the social protection responsibilities entrusted to the ministry were quite overwhelming and had, thus, “taken the Council out of the equation.”
“The Council as it stands now is not adequately staffed and resourced and does not even have the requisite impetus to work,” Mr William said.
He said the Council was supposed to streamline all government policies on disability and to serve as the co-ordinating body for the implementation of government policies on matters pertaining to persons with disability.
However, Mr Williams said, per the current structure, the Council did not have that power to carry out its mandate but had to submit all its plans of activities to the sector minister to consult with other ministries which did not facilitate its cause.
Mr Williams said when autonomy was granted to the council, it would have access to specific budgetary allocation for its operations.