The National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), the government’s institution in charge of disability matters, has denied claims that it has called for the Persons with Disabilities Act passed in 2006, to be amended.
As a result, the Council has distanced itself from the item published and disseminated on June 23, 2022, by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to several media networks under the headline “NCPD calls for amendment of disability act 715.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Sunday, Ms Esther Akua Gyamfi, Executive Secretary of the NCPD, said that the Council, as a state institution, cannot advocate for the revision of the legislation that it has the mandate to review on behalf of the government.
She also stated that the disability council did not organise the National Day of Disability event from which the story originated, and therefore, could not be attributed to such a statement.
“The Council didn’t organise the event,” she said, adding, “The National Council on Persons with Disability, as the state agency for disability matters and inclusion, cannot call for the amendment of the Persons with Disability Act.”
She indicated that the process of re-enactment of the Disability Act was on course, emphasising that the government was committed to passing the Persons with Disability Re-enactment into law by 2023.
Additionally, Ms Gyamfi stated that the NCPD Board Chairman, Mr Yaw Ofori-Debra, was not present at the event, saying, “The National Council on Persons with Disabilities disassociates itself from the publication.”
However, the National Council on Persons with Disability joins hands with all organizations of and for persons with disabilities to observe the 23rd of June as the day Parliament passed the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 Act 715 into law
Meanwhile, NCPD Board Chairman Ofori-Debra assured stakeholders in a statement that the government was reviewing the existing Act 715 to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, as well as the National Council on Persons with Disabilities, are leading the review process.
“This is to help make it more comprehensive and broaden the benefits of the law for the interest and wellbeing of persons with disabilities and stakeholders in the disability field,” Mr. Ofori-Debra said.
He added that an examination of Act 715 showed sluggish and gradual compliance, making it difficult for people with disabilities to see the beneficial impact and advantages on their lives.
Despite this, he noted that the Act has significantly contributed to the legal framework for developing policies such as the National Development Planning Policy Framework (2022-2025), Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy, Early Childhood Care and Development Standards (0–3 years), and Ghana’s National Social Protection Policy.
Other contributions include Frameworks and Strategies for Mainstreaming Disability into MMDAs and Guidelines for the Disbursement and Management of the District Assembly Common Fund for Persons with Disabilities
“Act 715 has also strengthened Ghana’s commitments under international law,” Mr Ofori-Debra continued, noting the submission of Ghana’s maiden report to the UN Committee on the Rights of PWDs on efforts taken toward UNCRPD implementation.
“The NCPD is under no illusion about these realities, and the Council is taking the necessary measures and actions to educate and sensitise all segments of the Ghanaian population, including state actors, to strictly adhere to the tenets of Act 715 and implement the provisions as required by law,” he added.