Ghana: Madina MP Pushes for 5 Percent Job Quota for PWDs

Member of Parliament (MP) for the Madina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, is on an advocacy to have a Bill passed to guarantee job slots for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the country. If successful, the passage of the Minimum Employment of PWDs Bill would ensure that all public or private institutions employ at least five per cent of PWDs in their organisations.

In a memo to the Clerk to Parliament which has since been admitted by the Speaker, the human rights lawyers argued that disabled persons in Ghana continue to experience various forms of discrimination and social exclusion in all aspects of national life.

These, he said, occurs despite the several anti-discriminatory laws that are meant to protect the rights of PWDs and facilitate their participation in mainstream social, political and economic activities.

"As it is, the laws have not completely eroded the discrimination and in some instances, appear to have even institutionalised the discrimination that disabled people experience," he states in his memo.

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It is for this reason, Mr Sosu said a deliberate legislation was needed to make it compulsory for institutions to hire PWDs to economically balance the population.

According to latest data from the Ghana Statistical Service, eight per cent of Ghana's population representing some 2.8 million persons have some form of disability; a population he believes could easily be absorbed by the job market if deliberate policies were fashioned to engage PWDs.

"If we are able to drive this through, there will be no person with disability in Ghana who is fit, qualified and willing to work that will not have a job," he estimated in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra.

He said it was sad that a democratic country like Ghana which prides itself with respect for the fundamental human rights of persons, has no laws existing to economically include its vulnerable population irrespective of their qualifications.

He said as a respected member of the comity of nations, Ghana must comply with international conventions and treaties it has signed on to.

He itemised these treaties to include the Convention on the Rights of PWDs, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the United Nations Conventions on the Right of the Child.

To Mr Sosu, "as a nation, our progress as a people is determined by the kind of care we give to the most vulnerable in our society and one most marginalised in our population is PWDs so we must rise to the occasion to ensure this group is economically included".

The 10-clause Bill among other things places an obligation on PWDs to work diligently and give off their utmost best and prohibits street and or public space begging of PWDs.

It also provides that "an employer who wilfully and without any justifiable reason [fails to allocate five per cent of jobs to PWDs], proof of which shall be on the employer violates the provisions of this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine".

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