Sosu Moves Parliament To Secure Employment Of 3 Million Ghanaians With Disabilities

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NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Honourable Francis-Xavier Sosu, has pushed for a bill to be passed into constitutional law to help guarantee 5 per cent employment for all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to be employed in various public and private organisations in the country.

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, the famous human rights lawyer narrated that he has been advocating 5% compulsory employment differently of PWDs in all public and private institutions in Ghana.

This development, the MP disclosed has informed his decision to officially table a Private Member’s Bill Provision of minimum employment of Persons with Disabilities Bill in parliament since September 5, 2022, for 5% employment of three million PWDs.

The two-page document in possession of the journalists indicates that Honourable Sosu on September 5, 2022, submitted the bill to the Clerk of Parliament and the bill is currently in the drafting stage in parliament.

The MP told the journalists that the bill when enacted into law will help provide for compulsory employment of PWDs in all public and private institutions and also provided for related matters.

He indicated that according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15% of the world’s population, representing some 1 billion people suffer one form of disability. Out of this number, 80% are found in developing countries.

In Ghana, he mentioned that data from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows that 8% of Ghana’s population representing some 2.4million persons have some form of disability as compared to 3% in 2010.

“It is sad to note that with this number and in a democratic country such as ours which prides itself on respect for the fundamental human rights of persons, no strategy or laws exist to ensure the employment of PWDs despite their academic heights, success or qualifications. In simple terms, our society does not seem to consider PWDs as productive components of mainstream society. It is time to change this narrative,” the MP noted.

“My point is that if a citizen issued a private member’s bill, the central government must be interested but the government seems not to be interested until the bill is passed into the constitutional law, before it would be making a series of complaints. The issue l personally think that it is not the best way for the government to go. And we don’t want that complaint anymore in this democratic country.

“So the government must be interested or must show interest in the employment of PWDs in Ghana. That is why l am seriously advocating for advocating 5% compulsory jobs for three million Ghanaians with disabilities in all public and private institutions in Ghana.

The young outspoken MP minced no words when he expressed his disappointment in the government for keeping its deaf ear to the comprehensive policy he designed to provide 5% employment of three million PWDs in the country.

“How can come as a country with and population of about three million persons are disabilities but the central government does not have any comprehensive or proper policy to help address this alarming problem in Ghana.

“…I am very passionate about the suffering of the PWDs in Ghana because my biological second born sister has recently gone blind due to disease. My sister was not born a blind- person, but something went wrong and she becomes a blind person. Today you are abled persons but tomorrow you can unfortunately become disabled persons. One incident or little occurances can make mankind to become disabled people in life.

“So why can’t as a nation, the government should not have comprehensive policies on PWDs to address these problems. Very disappointly, since September 5, 2022 that l have designed the bill and submitted to the parliament as well as advocating for the 5% employment of PWDs in public and private institutions, zero response from the central government. So you may asked yourself which type of government we have in Ghana,” the narrated.

Speaking further, Honourable Sosu reiterated his earlier recommendation for the enactment of Employment of Persons with Disability Act, to exclusively deal with employment matters and related matters of persons with disabilities.

This piece of legislation, he further stressed will aim to ensure minimum employment of PWDs to guarantee their rights and ensure a more open, fair and inclusive society.

“My office is working with key stakeholders to ensure that Private Member’s Bill would be passed into the law to achieve this objective,” he further assured.

“Also, as noted by key Stakeholders in a recent dialogue on the theme of Participation of PWDs in the labour market, there remains a critical challenge of lack of comprehensive data on PWDs and related profiling that includes capabilities of PWDs.

“I therefore wish to entreat the Government to ensure the prompt collation of necessary data to ensure that this challenge is addressed,” the young outspoken legislator emphasized.

He recommended that healthcare services must also be made free for PWDs to guarantee the good health and well-being of PWDs in Ghana.

According to him, this will go a long way to reassure PWDs that they remain key components of mainstream society.

Again, the MP advocated that the two per cent share of the District Assemblies Common Fund meant for PWDs ought to be regularly reassessed and readjusted to inflation to ensure that PWDs are not discriminated against.

He further advocates that strict payment and compliance measures ought to be put in place at the local government level to effective enforcement of the law.

Honourable Sosu who doubles as a private legal practitioner, human rights activist, Member of the Appointments Committee, and Deputy Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, with background expertise in Economics, Conflict, Security and Peace Studies said persons with disabilities continue to suffer discrimination despite the many anti-discriminatory laws enacted to protect them.

He stressed the need for all and sundry to do more to protect the rights of marginalised persons and vulnerable groups and ensure that we steadily lift the majority of our people across the poverty line.”

The MP called on the government and other key stakeholders such as the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and Trades Union Congress (TUC) to take active measures and support the introduction of legislation that will ensure mandatory minimum employment of PWDs in Ghana.

He maintained that disabled persons in Ghana continue to experience various forms of discrimination and social exclusion.

He bemoaned that these occur even though several anti-discriminatory laws are meant to protect the rights of disabled people and facilitate their participation in mainstream social, political and economic activities.

“As it is, the laws have not completely eroded the discrimination and in some instances, appears to have even institutionalized the discrimination that disabled people experience. The state must pay more attention to amending aspects of these laws and putting them into practice (Ocran, 2019),” he quoted.

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