The Government of Ghana has been called upon to increase the amount destined for child protection in the 2020 and subsequent budgets.
The budget, it said, should subsequently be entirely disbursed to adequately fund and implement existing plans including policies particularly in key areas of birth registration, alternative care, justice for children, child marriage and child sexual and reproductive health.
This was contained in communiqué issued by the organizing committee of Child Right NGO Forum held in Accra and christened “Ghana NGO Forum 2019”.
It said the budget required to bring child protection services in Ghana up to the minimum level demanded by the Child Right Committee[CRC] is small compared to the budget required for children’s education, health, and sanitation.
The communiqué said the 2016 New Patriotic Party manifesto stated that “it remains committed to gender, equality and children’s rights” and would pursue full implementation of relevant Acts including the Human Trafficking Acts.
It adds that in his submission to parliament on his Government’s coordinated programme for economic and social development policies from 2017 to 2024, President Akufo-Addo stated that, “technical and financial resources would be prioritized at all levels to ensure effective implementation of child protection and family welfare programmes.”
The communiqué, however, said in the year 2017, 72.6 million Ghana cedis was allocated for child protection of which, shockingly, only 33.1% was disbursed.
It said although a lot of work by the NGO sector and UNICEF as well as the Government of Ghana had gone into various well –crafted and fully costed policies and plans for the protection of Ghana’s children they lacked full and effective implementation.
The Government, the communiqué stated, had adopted but not fully implemented the child and family welfare policy , the justice for children policy , the national gender policy , the five year [2018-2022] strategic plan to prevent adolescent pregnancies, Ghana family planning costing implementation plan [2016-2020] and the national strategic framework on ending child marriage for 2017-2018 along with their costed operational plans.
It adds that the “automated system for the registration of births and deaths” [SRBD] and the care reform initiative needed to be fully funded so that rollout can be completed.
Ghana was the first country to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] in 1990. Nearly 30 years later, the Government of Ghana still has not fully complied with what the committee of the CRC has observed.
The Child Right NGO Forum was themed “Child Protection: Whose Responsibility? It was at the behest of OAfrica in partnership with the Ghana NGOs Coalition on the right of the child and funded by the European Union.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa