Persons with disability did not benefit from GHS70m oil money
A member of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled in the Ashanti region, Deborah Anane Adjei, has questioned the omission of persons with disability in benefitting from the over GHS70 million educational investment funded by oil revenue from 2011 to 2016.
According to records from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), close to about GHS71million of Ghana’s oil revenue, over the last 6 years, was invested in several educational infrastructures across the country.
The total number of projects financed with the money, sums up to 299 including refurbishment and construction of new classroom blocks, science resource centers, dormitory blocks, staff and office accommodation for teachers among others.
But surprisingly, none of these projects benefitted children and other persons with disabilities, in the few special educational institutions in the country.
And these developments, the PRO of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled, Deborah Anane Adjei, says demonstrate the neglect of society for the physically challenged in the country.
She noted that persons with disability are often found on the streets begging for alms, to fend for themselves due to the inattention of their families and the lack of space in the few special schools in the country to accommodate them.
She observed that for the whole of Ashanti region, there are only two special schools for physically challenged persons, one of which is a training center.
Ms Anane Adjei, who made these remarks in an interview during a public forum organised by PIAC in Kumasi, added that it is commendable that government prioritises education but was equally important to consider persons with disability when sharing the national kitty by putting up more special schools for those with disability.
Participants at the forum, drawn from the civil society, traditional authorities, assembly members, the media and the general public, criticised some of the projects that were undertaken with the oil revenue, and how the oil revenue is being invested.
For instance, per the Ministry of Finance’s report, a total of a little over GHS3.3 billion was allocated from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) in the last 6 years to some four key priority areas including advances to GIIF and PIAC.
However, PIAC reported some discrepancies in the allocated amounts to some of the priority areas. It noted that no disbursements were made from the GIIF even though the GIIF Board had earmarked $17, 215, 698 as part of its $30 million commitment to the planned terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport.
PIAC’s monitoring exercise also showed that a supposed upgrade of an electrical power supply to Bagabaga College of Education, for which an amount of GHS4,028,245, had not been undertaken at the time, despite being indicated to be completed.
Some the participants at the forum quizzed why PIAC has not prosecuted persons found to have shortchanged Ghanaians in the use of funds allocated from the oil revenue to undertake projects.
President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and a member of PIAC, Affail Monney, said the suggestion to grant PIAC prosecutorial powers is worth considering, particularly coming from the citizens, and will therefore be forwarded to the right quarters.
He noted that the work of PIAC must not stop at exposing wrongdoings in certain quarters but further lead to the prosecution of those involved has been a concern of many well-meaning Ghanaians, and must be duly considered.