Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) at Nalerigu, the North East Regional capital, have not received their share of the Disability Fund from the East Mamprusi Municipal Assembly for the past two years.
The development has compelled many PWDs, mostly the blind and those with physical disabilities, to resort to the streets and lorry stations to beg for alms from commuters and other members of the public.
About 30 of the PWDs with their little children were spotted seated by the residence of Hajia Alima Mahama, the Member of Parliament for the Nalerigu/Gambaga Constituency and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mr Sumaila Dakurugu, the North East Regional Chairman of the Blind Union, told journalists in Nalerigu that the last time PWDs in the area received disbursement was in April 2018.
Upon several follow ups, to the Municipal Assembly, he added: “They said the Bank has no money.”
Meanwhile, members were asked to apply for animals to rear, he said; “some requested for roofing sheets to roof their rooms but till date, we have not received anything. I have been following up, but they say no money.”
Nonpayment of the three percent Disability Fund of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund had been reported across most of the districts in the newly created North East Region.
“Sometimes when the MP comes around we go to see her, but because there are always people around, we don’t get the opportunity to tell her our grievance, so we are appealing to authorities to see to our problem, as you can see, we are sitting here as beggars,” Mr Dakurugu said.
Mr Dakurugu who has turned to begging, when asked how much he makes in a day from begging, he retorted: “It depends, just this Sunday and Friday, I didn’t get even up to GHC10.00 and I went home.”
“This is my wife sitting there with twins,” he pointed his figures at her direction, saying: “she too was here on Sunday and didn’t get anything so we went home and have come today, Monday, to see if we can get our daily bread.”
He complained that the amount due to them from the Fund was not enough, and yet members did not receive disbursement regularly.
“I, for instance, receive GHC65.00 for two months, now it is not even up to the GHC65.00 anymore, it has been reduced to GHC62.00 for two months,” he said.
According to Mr Dakurugu, some of them have certificates but there are no jobs for them, and added that some members were enrolled onto the Youth Employment programme in 2016, “after we finished, they paid some, but some of us didn’t get our end of service benefit.”
When the East Mamprusi Municipal Director of Social Welfare and Community Development, Madam Fairyzah Yahaya Iddi, was contacted over the issue, she confirmed it saying: “There has been a backlog, for some time now we haven’t been able to make disbursements.”
“We have one Bank here that is, Tisungtaaba Community Bank and that is where we receive our share of the Common Fund. The Bank has been facing some financial challenges for about three years, so we have not been able to disburse anything,” she added.
Even though, government has released about GHC170,000.00 for disbursement, she said the funds were locked up in the Community Bank.
She added the Assembly had approved 119 PWDs for the entire Municipality for disbursement, and indicated that most of them were students who wanted their school fees to be paid.
“We wrote cheques to the schools and all of the schools returned the cheques because they couldn’t cash the money.”
According to her, the rest of the people and the assembly signed a bulk cheque last year for disbursement, but unfortunately the Rural Bank could not pay.