Lack of transparency affecting disbursement of disability fund – Study

A study by policy research and advocacy organisation, SEND Ghana, has revealed lack of transparency in the disbursement of the disability fund by district assemblies.

The Disability Fund is two percent of the District Assemblies Common and it is supposed support persons living with disability to engage in poverty alleviation ventures.

However, a study Commissioned by SEND Ghana on the disbursement of the fund says most assemblies do not adhere to guidelines for the disbursement of the fund.

The report is dubbed: “Making the two per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund Work for Persons With Disability”. Send-Ghana said the success achieved with the implementation of the guidelines could be eroded if structures put in place do not work effectively and efficiently.

The civil society organisation has called for structures to be put in place to facilitate the proper use of the two per cent of the Fund allocated to persons with disability (PWDs).

It said in order to attain the objective of the fund, the provisions of the guidelines should be supported with proper enforcement.

 “District Assemblies continue to borrow money from the disability accounts thereby depriving PWDs from accessing the fund on time and this has had serious consequence for PWDs’ access to much needed funds”, Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, Country Director of SEND-Ghana said.

The report conducted by the organisation confirmed the existence of District Fund Management Committees (DFMCs) in all the 15 districts covered. However, the composition of DFMCs varies in every district.

The study was carried out in 15 districts in Upper West, Upper East, Northern and Greater-Accra Regions.

The report said the appointment of chairpersons for the DCFMs in the 15 districts were done through consensus reached by the committee members.

 “Incidentally, almost 90 per cent of the chairpersons double as chairpersons of the social services committee of the 15 assemblies. However, there appears not to be a clear-cut criterion for the selection of chairperson of the DFMCs and this can result in major disagreements that could affect the effectiveness of the committees,” it added.

 The report stated that almost 70 per cent of DFMCs interviewed indicated that no notification is received from the assemblies regarding release of funds into the disability accounts.

 It added that all categories of PWDs, including alleged witches and epileptic patients, are currently benefiting from the fund though some ended up spending the monies on consumption.

It stated that there is the need for the DFMCs, Ghana Federation of Disabled and National Council for persons with disability to increase the monitoring of the usage of the fund by beneficiaries, adding that the stakeholders need to discuss the modalities for funding such as monitoring activities with relevant ministries.

It said government should ensure timely release of funds to the disability account to reduce the frustration that some PWDs go through, most especially students who depend on the support for payment of school fees and books.

“The NCPWDs should ensure that they have representatives in all the DFMCS and also ensure timely and usable information flow from national to the district levels. They should also ensure that PWDs have enough information on the fund,” it added.

Meanwhile the Federation of the Disabled says it is equally worried about the situation but it cannot do much to help under the present circumstances.

President of the Federation, Yaw Ofori-Debrah, tells Joy News until a monitoring mechanism is put in place the problem will persist.

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