14 August 2017

Ghana: Where Are the PWDs in the Toll Booths?

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The Ministry of Roads and Highways, on July 5, 2017, launched the Persons with Disability (PWDs) Road Toll Initiative, which formed part of a commitment of the sector Minister, Kwasi Amoako Attah, who pledged during his vetting to reserve, at least, a 50 percent quota in all contracts in respect of manning toll booths for PWDs.

At the launch, Kwasi Amoako Attah said three percent of the nation's population, according to the 2010 Housing Population Census, represents PWDs, hence the need for the government to create opportunities for them (PWDS) to contribute to the economy.

He added that the 50 percent quota reserved for persons living with disability, represents a total of 200 slots, but the initiative had to commence with about 80 PWDs across the nation.

He went on that the initiative would help empower the PWDs, and assured the beneficiaries that his ministry would be opened to harnessing the skills of PWDs, regardless of their physical conditions, in executing the government's agenda.

The Minister, consequently, said the project would offer a lead in the implementation of that manifesto commitment of the NPP to PWDs, by first setting the example.

In his delivery, Kwasi Amoako Attah said with the exception of Accra Plaza, Ngleshie-Amanfrom, Tema Plaza and the Amasaman booths, which are automated and currently under contract, his Ministry would spread 200 PWDs persons across the country.

According to him, plans were underway to automate the other booths, after which the beneficiaries would be trained to man them.

The Chronicle commends the Minister and the government for keeping to one of their manifesto promises.

However, since the launch, The Chronicle is yet to sight a PWD in the booths at Nyigbenya, near Tsopoli, along the Tema-Aflao highway, Afienya, Sogakofe and Atimpoku.

These are toll booths that are not automated like the ones at the Accra Plaza, Ngleshie-Amanfrom, Tema Plaza and Amasaman.

The Chronicle is aware that toll collectors at the booths run shifts, but do the PWDs run shifts with abled persons?

As long as all manual toll booths have been allocated to PWDs, it should be it, otherwise, the vision and reason for the laudable idea would be defeated.

And once it is defeated, the government arms its 'enemies' to fire at it for a cosmetic show to appeal to the PWDs.

On this note, The Chronicle entreats the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Attah, to pay a couple of surprise visits to some of the manual toll booths, and see if, indeed, the beneficiaries of the jobs are the ones at post.

We live in a country where messengers could always massage information, especially, when their palms are greased with some cedis.

It is for this reason that we call on the Minister himself to visit the booths at Nyigbenya, Afienya, Sogakofe and Atimpoku to ascertain developments there.

Besides, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) should investigate whether their members are truly the ones manning all the manual toll booths across the country.

Should their outcome be negative, the GFD should not hesitate in registering its unhappiness.

The media and well-meaning Ghanaians would definitely support their call, because a promise made, must be kept, and this is Biblical.

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