NPP'll establish training institution, scholarship scheme for PWDs – Bawumia
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, NPP Running Mate to Nana Akufo-Addo, has disclosed that a Nana Akufo-Addo government will reserve a quota of government procurement and public sector employment for Persons Living with Disabilities (PLDs), as well as establish a Training Institution and Scholarship Scheme purposely for Persons living with disabilities.
Dr. Bawumia made these comments on Wednesday in Midea, in the Greater Accra Region, when on behalf of Nana Akufo-Addo and himself, he donated 20,000 Ghana Cedis for the completion of a training facility for the disabled, which has been left uncompleted for over 5 years due to a lack of funds.
The facility is being put up by the Future Life for the Disabled (FLD), a group of persons living with disabilities, which seeks to equip its members with technical skills to be productive.
Touching on the vision of the NPP for PLDs, Dr. Bawumia noted that Nana Akufo-Addo as someone who cares for persons living with disabilities will introduce policies and actions to ensure a fairer and more comfortable society for PLDs.
“With particular regard to people living with disabilities, we all realise that without well-thought-out policies and actions from government, such persons will continue to struggle and that is why we will initiate a number of policies all geared at ensuring a fairer society. Nana Akufo-Addo will introduce these policies to help the persons with disabilities because as we all know, he is someone who cares for persons living with disabilities”, he said.
Touching on the specific policies, Dr. Bawumia noted that education and training are vital ingredients for building lives and therefore disclosed that a Nana Akufo-Addo government will therefore prioritise the training and education of PLDs to make them productive and ensure that they contribute their intellect fully to national development.
He stated, “God willing Nana Akufo-Addo becomes President, we will establish a major Training Institute for people living with disabilities with one campus in Northern Ghana and another in Southern Ghana to equip you with technical and vocational skills to enable you work and earn a living.
“Again as our Chairman recounted, he couldn’t go to school but we have all realised that he has great intellect that should be used for nation building. It is a similar case for most persons living with disability and that is why the second major policy initiative will be the establishment of a scholarship scheme purposely for persons living with disability to help persons living with disabilities to go through schooling from the basic level to the tertiary level.”
On the issue of employment, Dr. Bawumia also disclosed that the NPP was committed to using the power of the state to support businesses owned by PLDs and ensure that persons living with disabilities have a fairer chance of getting jobs.
“To start with, generally, persons with disabilities struggle to find jobs and that is why as a policy, the NPP will mandate public institutions to hire at least a certain percentage of their workers from the population of persons living with disabilities. Without such a policy, it would continue to be virtually impossible for persons living with disabilities to find a job.
Another policy I will like to mention here, among the range of policies we will introduce, is that, we believe that among others, businesses owned by persons living with disabilities must be encouraged and so we will reserve a certain percentage of government procurement for persons living with disabilities so that you know that when you set up a business, there will be demand for you”
“All these policies will make life better for persons living with disabilities”, he added.
On the donation, Dr. Bawumia noted that he had decided to come and take a look at the facility being put up by the group because he found it to be a laudable cause and expressed concern that such a laudable initiative had failed to receive the necessary support for so long.
With the founder of the group, Emmanuel Dzikunu nearly coming to tears, after narrating his struggles to find support for the project, Dr. Bawumia announced to the surprise of group members that on behalf of Nana Akufo-Addo and himself, he was donating 20,000 Ghana cedis to facilitate the completion of the project.
“I decided to come and look at the work that has already been done and then to see how we can also support. Your chairman came to talk to me about this centre you are putting up. When he told me, I also informed Nana Akufo-Addo who also agreed to support. So we are here to tell you that we are here to help you complete the facility. The first package is to support you roof and do other works with 20,000 Ghana cedis”, he said to loud cheers from the group.
Dr. Bawumia explained that the NPP when elected, will work to ensure that all Ghanaians irrespective of their orientation or background benefit from the resources of the nation.
“As we all know, being disabled doesn’t mean one can’t work. But unfortunately, with the system we have in the country today, the money all stays at the top. It stays at the top and flies to Burkina Faso or Dubai or Brazil. But it shouldn’t be so because we all pay taxes directly or indirectly and the resources of this nation are for all of us; so the economy should work for all. Everyone must realise the benefits of our taxes and resources and this is the thinking behind a lot of the policies the NPP will introduce to transform our economy and how it works”, he noted.
Founder of the group, Emmanuel Dzikunu, who had to break into a song to thank Dr. Bawumia, expressed his profound gratitude to Dr. Bawumia and Nana Akufo-Addo for the support and narrated how he had struggled to find support to complete the project.
“Despite this initiative, we have struggled so much to get support. I even went to Social Welfare. I also didn’t receive any support from the Assembly. I even had to pay my way out to get a permit to put up this place. We have sent the pictures of the facility everywhere but still didn’t receive support until we met Dr. Bawumia who has changed our destinies. This facility will train people in Shoe making, fashion design, bead making, batik, soap making, ICT etc.”, he said.