Madam Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has called on stakeholders in the extractive industry to include persons with Disability in the activities of the extractive industry.
“To achieve sustainable development, persons with disabilities are to be effectively included in the opportunities offered by the extractive sector and to ensure that persons with disabilities benefit equally from the revenue and resources from the extractive sector.”
The Minister made this call during a stakeholder’ forum to deliberate on how the persons with disability could contribute meaningfully in the industry.
The forum, was organized by the National Council on Persons with Disability under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with Africa Centre for Energy Policy and Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations.
The Stakeholders Forum for the Inclusion of disability was necessitated by the need to bring stakeholders together to deliberate on the effective mainstreaming of disability in the extractive sector.
Above all, the forum was to demystify the perception that the extractive industry was risky for persons with disabilities.
Participants included; the Deputy Minister for Energy and representatives from the Ministry of Business Development, the extractive sector including; Newmont, Ghana National Petroleum Authority, Precious Minerals Mining Company, Ghana Gas, Ghana Chamber Of Mines, Anglogold Ashanti, Perseus Mining, Rigworld and Petroleum Commission.
The Minister stated that as much as persons with disabilities constituted a considerable percentage of the population of Ghana, their full potentials were yet to be fully harnessed.
She explained that, it was for that reason that her Ministry was integrating disability perspectives into the various activities of the Ministry to enhance their full potentials and her Ministry was working on putting up a centre for children with cerebral palsy for easy access to therapy.
She also highlighted on sign language interpretation especially in hospitals.
The Minister called on all corporate bodies to support persons with disabilities in order for them to contribute their quota towards nation building.
In a welcome address, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection Dr. Afisah Zakariah stated that the forum was important because the Ministry in collaboration with its stakeholders operated on the theme “Leaving no One Behind.”
She said issues of disability were important to the Government and the Ministry, which is mandated to address challenges facing persons with disabilities.
Mr Yaw Ofori-Debra, Board Chairman for the National Council on Persons with Disability in his address said issues of disability over the years were relegated to the bottom of the national agenda, but they were currently given some amount of recognition.
The Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Mr. Benjamin Boakye in his remarks said his organisation was in the process of empowering persons with disabilities in society for them to contribute to development.
The Deputy Minister for Energy Dr. Amin Adam in his address said he was delighted that the extractive industry was called upon to discuss inclusiveness of persons with disabilities.
He said there was the need for them to be empowered with the requisite skills and expertise to get jobs in the industry.
Dr Adam said Government through the Ministry of Energy had communicated to Oil Companies to develop Gender and Disability Policies to integrate Gender and Persons with disabilities into their operations.
He stated that a number of them had started complying with the directive.
Stakeholders expressed their willingness to work with their management to make sure that their corporate social responsibility policies reflected on the support that was needed for all people including persons with disabilities.
They requested for a database from the Council on persons with disabilities to know those that were Engineers, Petrochemical Scientists, Geologists and Geophysicists.