A Board member of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD) yesterday made a passionate appeal to the government of Sierra Leone to enforce provisions in the Disability Act of 2011.
Francis Kabia was speaking at the secretariat of the NCPD during an event to mark five years since the passage of the Disability Act.
Kabia, a civil servant from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, who chaired the event, noted that significant progress has been made since the enactment of the Act in 2011.
He said the passage of the Disability Act demonstrated the country’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of persons with disability, although he noted that the disable community would appreciate the document when its provisions are implemented.
“We make a passionate appeal for the enforcement of Disability Act of 2011. The government’s Agenda for Prosperity will not be achieved if the disabled community continues to live in poverty. I tag this commemoration as a journey from words to action,” he said.
Chairman and chief commissioner of NCPD, Dr. Frederick John Momoh Kamara, said the commission grapples with a number of obstacles, including staffing, adding “We have established regional offices but there are no staff in those offices.”
The chairman said the subvention provided to the commission was not coming on time, which only exacerbates their constraints.
“Most times getting the subvention is a problem. But we will continue to plead to the Ministry of Finance to be giving our subvention in time. I am sorry to say that at this very moment we are in the red,” he said.
Dr. Kamara said many people looks at the commission as a charitable institution, especially members of the media, adding that their mandate does not include removing disabled beggars from the street, as many people perceive.
Statements were also made by President of Sierra Leone Union on Disability, Kabbah Franklyn Bngura; sacked Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Mustapha Bai Atilla; and a representative of the current Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.