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Monday, February 17, 2014

When does 2% + 2% = 3%?

THE DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES COMMON FUND ACT 1993 BACKGROUND

In 1993 the Ghanaian government passed a new law which was called the District Assemblies Common Fund Act 1993 (act 455). Under Section 2 of this newly passed law, Parliament annually allocates a certain percentage (currently 7.5%) of the total revenue of Ghana to District Assemblies for their local level development. District Assemblies are essentially Councils that are responsible for running and maintaining each one of Ghana’s 170 districts.
This fund that they are given annually from the central government is called the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF). The 1993 Act also recognises that Persons with Disability (PWDs) are allocated a percentage (currently 2%) of the DACF. This 2% is put aside:

·         To support the income generating activities of individual PWDs as a means of economic empowerment.
·         To provide educational support for children, students and trainees with disabilities.
·         To build the capacity of PWDs in the districts to enable them to advocate and assert their rights and undertake awareness raising and sensitization on disability issues.
·         To support PWDs so they have access to technical aids and other assistive devices and equipment.

CASE STUDY

In the Financial Report of Builsa North for 2013 it shows that it received 1,009,445.00 GHC from the Ghanaian government as its share of the DACF.

Now if we use the current percentage of 2% to calculate how much money goes towards PWDs we see that;

1,009,445 GHC × 0.02 = 20188.9 GHC allocated for PWDs in Builsa North District in 2013.

Now we will find out how much money that equates to per day.

20188.9 GHC ÷ 365 days = 55.31 GHC per day allocated for PWDs in Builsa District.

Now if we use the optimistic statistic that states there are only 1500 ‘known’ PWDs in the Builsa North to calculate how much money each PWD receives;

55.31 GHC per day ÷ 1500 PWDs = 0.03 GHC per day per PWD in Builsa North.

0.03 GHC roughly converts into £0.008 per day per PWD in Builsa North.

DACF DISCPREPANCIES AND FAILINGS

To add insult to injury over this disgustingly low amount allocated for PWDs, The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has claimed that some District Assemblies are failing to release the full 2% of the DACF meant for PWDs. Moral corruption and political manipulation are two of the main reasons for this. Another reason for this is that District Assemblies are essentially ‘hiding’ the 2% of the Fund in services that are used for both PWDs and able bodied people alike, and not just for PWD services that the fund was originally intended for.
The GFD has also expressed worry over the late release of the Fund to facilitate members’ activities. Mr Yaw Ofori-Debrah, President of the GFD, also claims that quotas for the second and third quarters of 2012 were released as late as May 2013 and some District Assemblies had still not made the 2012 funds available to constituents.

REASONS FOR DACF FAILINGS AND DISCREPANCIES

In Ghana a PWD is defined as an individual who is officially recognized by society as having any form of restriction or lacks the ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range that is normal for a human being. Ghana has no available national statistics on PWDs so they rely heavily on estimates from other groups such as WHO and Oxfam. How can an authority be relied upon to give PWDs what they are obliged to when most Ghanaians do not know the legal and literal definition of a PWD in the first place?
However this is not a one sided argument. Illiteracy among Ghanaians generally is set at 65%, but among Ghanaian PWDs it is pegged at around 85%. This is a main factor in the plight of the 2% as, ironically, many PWDs cannot actually read the law that protects them so they have no reason to think they are being wronged.
PWDs are found in all districts of Ghana but the majority live in remote places under District Assemblies. These remote PWDs are also haunted by the stigma of being a ‘lesser human being’, especially the older and more conservative generation, and many live in life-long self-enforced reclusiveness. If a PWD is not officially known to the authorities as having a disability then the corresponding District Assembly does not legally have to include them in the 2% fund allocation. This is another way that the District Assemblies can legally get round the fact that they are not spending the fund on PWD services.

RESOLVING PWDs FUNDING PROBLEMS


So as a PWD it is your right and duty to stand up and say “I am disabled!” and feel proud whilst doing it. It is your duty to educate yourself in the law and what you as a PWD are legally entitled to. Lastly it is your duty to do this for yourself and other PWDs so that you all receive what is your right, not their ‘good-will gesture.’

- Liam

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