Mr Elijah Adansi-Bonah, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Obuasi, has hinted at plans by the Municipal Assembly to empower Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to acquire skills to make them economically independent.
The MCE, who was speaking to the media after a short ceremony to distribute items to some PWDs in the Obuasi Municipality, said the Assembly as part of its 2023 budget made provisions for the PWDs to acquire skills at the Obuasi Training and Rehabilitation Centre.
The centre, which was built by AngloGold Ashanti with the support of the Obuasi Assembly, is intended to provide hands-on training for the PWDs to enhance their opportunities for employment through demand-driven skills.
Mr Adansi-Bonah said there were plans to provide boarding facilities at the centre to accommodate PWDs outside Obuasi, who want to access the facility.
A total of 17 PWDs received various items procured from the Disability Fund to aid them to start their own businesses.
Twelve of the beneficiaries were presented with items such as knitting machines, Fufu pounding machines and deep freezers, whereas the remaining five also received medical and educational support, amounting to GHS 57,565.69.
As part of efforts to empower PWDs in the country, the government of Ghana in 2005 introduced the Disability Fund, which is made up of three per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
The Disability Fund, among many other things, is to support and equip PWDs in economic and business ventures as well as provide educational/training support and medical/health support to make them functional in life and society.
The MCE said the Assembly had been transparent in its disbursement of the fund over the years.
“The introduction of the fund since the Act was passed in 2006 has led to improvement in the living conditions of persons with disability in Obuasi and the country at large.
It is even rare to see PWDs begging for alms on the streets these days,” he noted.
He indicated that monitoring teams would soon be deployed to ensure that beneficiaries use the items for their intended purpose as had been done previously.
Mr Karim Iddrisu, President of the Obuasi branch of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD), appealed to other government agencies such as Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) to extend business support to PWDs who want to go into business.
He said though the distribution of the items was a step in the right direction, the PWDs needed financial support to enable them to start their businesses.
The beneficiaries thanked government for the gesture and appealed to the public to patronise their items without discrimination.