The Bongo District Assembly in the Upper East Region on Wednesday disbursed a total amount of GH₵ 54,314.50 to some members of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFDO) in the district.
A total of 125 beneficiaries of the GFDO's membership in the district are earmarked to receive various amounts of money to start businesses, undergo apprenticeship training or to support their educational expenses.
At a brief ceremony held in Bongo to disburse these payments to the first batch of beneficiaries who had various forms of disabilities, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Bongo, Mr Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga, thanked government for increasing the disability fund allocation from 2% to 3%. He noted that the increment had augmented the amount available to the various MMDAs for onward distribution to Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Ayamga said the increment, which was announced at the early parts of 2018, subsequently led to the transfer of GH₡150,532.91 to the Assembly. This amount he added, covered releases for the 4th Quarter of 2016 and the first, second and third Quarters of 2017. He disclosed that he immediately tasked the Disability Fund Management Committee (DFMC) to religiously follow the proper criteria in vetting and approving only those who qualify to access the funds.
The DCE said the Assembly had undertaken to disburse the disability fund to beneficiaries via cheques so as to eradicate any possible embezzlement by officials involved in the process. He appealed to other applicants to remain patient as the DFMC was working hard to approve the right people deserving of the fund. He disclosed that the first batch of disbursements basically covered applicants from the Namoo Zone.
Presenting the breakdown of the disbursements, Mr. Ayamga revealed that GH₡8,734.00 was allocated to Education Support, GH₡26,435.00 for Income Generation Activities and Apprenticeship training received GH₡2,065.00. He said additionally, GH₡2,065.00 went into Advocacy while GH₡13,095.00 was set aside for Organisational Development and GH₡1,920.00 went into the area of NHIS/Medical/Assistive Devices.
According to Mr. Ayamga, these disbursements marked the first time disability funds were paid out in Cheques instead of cash and hoped that this will introduce majority of the beneficiaries to the formal banking system thereby promoting financial inclusion. Meanwhile, he advised the beneficiaries to put the monies into good productive ventures so as to justify the objectives for which the disability fund was set up.
Upper East Regional President of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFDO) Mr. David Aniah who witnessed the disbursement, cautioned his members against misapplying the funds given them as that will defeat the laudable intentions of the Disability Fund. Mr. Aniah also charged the DFMC to follow up on the beneficiaries in order to ensure that the desired impact is achieved.