By: Mawusie P.I Dumbuya
Information Communcation and Outreach Manager
The National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD) has presented a budget of three million one hundred and sixty-one thousand four hundred Leones (3,161,400.00) on Tuesday 5th October 2022 at the ongoing budget presentation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies at the Ministry of Finance George Street in Freetown.
In his Presentation, Executive Secretary Saa Kortequee revealed that one of the key deliverables of the Commission in the 2023 financial year is to establish the Disability Fund as provided for in Section 32 of the Persons with Disability Act 2011. He said the Fund would be there to solve most of the daunting issues that the disabled face,” he averred.
Saa Kortequee said the Fund would serve as a basket for development partners and the government to solicit resources for promoting and funding disability programmes and interventions.
Saa Kortequee furthered that most of the Commission’s activities are in line with the Medium-Term Development Plan and that women with disabilities are extensively considered since they suffer double discrimination; “60% of our programmes are centred around promoting the livelihood of women with disabilities” he maintained.
Highlighting the Commission’s proposed activities, the Executive Secretary said NCPD want to increase outreach and awareness raising, socio-Economic livelihood empowerment for persons with disabilities covering fashion design and dressmaking, and advance research.
He said the Commission would monitor and evaluate Health and Educational institutions. Also, other partners working with the disabled communities surrounding access to free quality education and free healthcare for persons with disabilities, data collection on the number of persons with disabilities employed, several persons with disabilities living on the streets and special needs support given by the free quality education to persons with disabilities within schools.
Apart from that, he said the Commission seeks to Increase staff strength and institutional capacity (Recruit and replace staff nationwide) and enforce accessibility of all public infrastructures in Sierra Leone, covering the major cities (Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni and PortLoko).
Presenting on the financial aspect, Finance Manager Steven Ndomiana said if given the requested amount, the Commission will undertake Livelihood Empowerment support to PWDs/Centres across the regions, and over 300 persons with disabilities will benefit from sheltered employment.
He said the budget ceiling for FY 2023 is 2,888.00, and the Commission requested 3,161.40, an excess over the ceiling of 361.40.
Highlighting the achievements for the FY 2021, the Finance Manager said the Commission had supported over 10 Disabled Persons Organizations and individuals with disabilities with grants to engage in life skills and livelihood empowerment projects.
“We have also helped individual PWDs access education and health services and partnered with relevant stakeholders to ensure inclusiveness in various programs”, he revealed.
He also said media houses would be engaged to popularize the PWD Act 2011, enhance the awareness of PWDs on the provisions of the Persons with Disability Act 2011, and monitor the support and grant given to DPOs by the Commission.
Highlighting challenges, he said there are unrealistic expectations of PWDs of the Commission, lack of collaboration, especially by some partners working in the sector, lack of sufficient staff, especially in the regions and no official vehicle to enable the Commission to work effectively.
Panel members applauded the Commission’s presentation as they assured to look into the budget and approve something significant. Civil societies urged the ministry to increase NCPD’s subvention and ensure that government provide vehicles to enhance work in the Commission.