The Ghana Federation of Disability organisations is kicking against fresh guidelines on the distribution of the common fund.
According to the Federation, the new guidelines are making it impossible for a majority of its members to access the funds.
President of the Federation, Yaw Ofori Debrah, in a statement Monday said the move has brought untold hardship to its members.
The District Assembly Common Fund Act (DACF ) 1993 stipulates that a two percent of the fund is given to Persons with Disability to among others, support their businesses.
But the federation says a fresh distribution guideline published by the DACF earlier this year excluded farmers, traders, students, persons under 18 and persons above 60 from benefitting.
Below is the statement
The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has received reports from leaders of OPWDs as well as individual PWDs, stakeholders and CSOs in the disability fraternity across the country about undue delays and confusion in the disbursement of the 3% District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for persons with disabilities.
The Federation wishes to commend the government for releasing the funds to all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)
The GFD is displeased with the turn of events in recent days whereby most MMDAs have either delayed or refused to disburse the funds which government has released to persons with disabilities. Reports gathered by the Federation indicate that most MMDAs are holding on unduly and thus refusing to disburse the funds to the intended beneficiaries. Not only that, but also, some District Chief Executives are trying to dictate to the Fund Management Committees regarding persons with disabilities who should benefit refusal of which the funds will not be approved the disbursement to beneficiaries. These developments are particularly worrying in view of the fact that
management committees in line with the existing guidelines for the disbursement of the funds which was developed by all stakeholders and has been in operation since 2010. Applicants have thus expressed their needs in line with the four existing thematic objective areas of the fund: 1) Educational Support; 2) Economic and income generation; 3) Medical and assistive devices; and 4) Organisational development.
The GFD has gathered that the delays in disbursing the funds by the MMDAs have arisen as a result of confusion over a directive issued from the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund to all MMDAs directing them as to how the funds should be disbursed. We wish to state that between 2006 and 2009, the Federation, persons with disabilities and their stakeholders fought hard and put in much resources to get the government to adopt guidelines for the effective management and utilization of the 3% share of the DACF for persons with disabilities in 2010.
The introduction of the guidelines in 2010 brought sanity and increased effectiveness in the process of management and utilization of the fund. However, this new directive issued in 2018 by the Administrator of DACF to the MMDAs on the management and disbursement of the fund is in sharp contrast with the original guidelines which had inputs from key stakeholders for the management of the funds. The directive is arbitrary in its propositions and comes to us a surprise that such an important decision did not receive wider consultations with persons with disabilities, their organisations and stakeholders in the disability community.
The new directive was release without the input of key stakeholders, neither was it based on any scientific evaluation of the existing guidelines to necessitate its current propositions. It is, therefore, our considered view that before any such new directives should take effect, all key stakeholders must be involved and an evaluation of the existing guidelines carried out to ascertain its current weaknesses, build on existing strengths and galvanize
In July 2017, government announced that parliament had approved GH¢47,278,060 to take care of people with disabilities in the country. Our monitoring desk has received information to the effect that earlier on in 2018, the Administrator of the DACF released GH¢28 million to Persons with Disabilities to offset arrears for the fourth quarter of 2016, and the first three quarters of 2017. Quite recently, the last quarter of 2017 arrears was also released to the districts across the country for disbursement to PWDs.
persons with disabilities for whose benefit the funds were released have submitted applications to the district fund consensus on the new modifications. We believe this is the way to bring about desired changes in the management of the funds and make the right impact on the lives of PWDs.
In fact, the continuous delay in the disbursement of the persons with disabilities common fund is not only leading to frustrations and a further increase in poverty levels among persons with disabilities, but it also exposes the fund to abuse, misapplication and unnecessary borrowing by some MMDAs.
By this press release, GFD made up of Ghana Blind Union, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Mental Health Society of Ghana, Inclusion Ghana (a group of people with intellectual disabilities and autism), Sharecare Ghana (a group of people with neurological and auto-immune conditions), Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism and Burn Survivors Foundation expresses its total displeasure over the current state of affairs with respect to the disbursement of the persons with disabilities share of the DACF.