Home Governance Drastic Slash In ‘Disables’ Budget… From Nearly US$1million To Little Over US$200,000; As PWDs Cry of Marginalization, Others

Drastic Slash In ‘Disables’ Budget… From Nearly US$1million To Little Over US$200,000; As PWDs Cry of Marginalization, Others

by newsmanager

By T.R Dixon

MONROVIA: Liberia’s Physically Challenged Persons, have seriously protested against what they called a ‘drastic slash’ of their budgetary allotment as contained in the 2024 National Budget from nearly US$1m to a little over US$200,000.

The Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) Samuel Sumo Dean, Sr, who expressed shock and disdain over the situation, pointed out that “people living with disabilities (PWDs) have special needs” that must be addressed by the state.

He stressed that PWDs deserve reasonable accommodation and other rights, as reflected in various Human Rights treaties, conventions protocols to which Liberia is a signatory.

Speaking recently in Monrovia, Mr. Mr. Dean, noted that for physically challenged people, referred to locally, as ‘Disables’ in the country to get their job done effectively, they need accessible restroom spaces, offices, conference rooms, employment opportunities and technical and professional development.

According to him, they also need homes to double as resource centers to train people with essential and other marketable skills as well as economic empowerment which would enable them to contribute effectively to national development, and the improvement of their family livelihoods across the country.

He added that “No country can afford to turn its back on 20% of its population.

Mr. Dean emphasized the need to conduct an enumeration exercise aimed at creating data bank; an exercise he noted that will inform how many PWDs are there, what different categories of disability they fall in, their exact localities.

He said, this will determine how many of the Nation’s physically challenged persons need employment, school, small business, affordable healthcare and social welfare, among others.

“We are persons with exceptionalities, and if our Empowerment Grant is managed from a sustainable angle, we will get the most results and the government, her partners, and the world will experience notable changes,” he stressed.

The NCD Boss pointed out that, they need logistics and their own homes, indicating that as it stands, they have no cars and as PWDs, it is an ordeal for them to compete for cars with our nondisabled peers.

He said the situation is compounded by socially sanctioned stigma that would not allow commercial motorists to give us preference, and as a result, we will always be late for work.

“To tell the truth, our people are not the easiest to deal with, they are impatient and anxious for lasting sustainable change, and sometimes their longing for this change can turn to frustration,” he said.

Mr. Dean indicated while their concerns are genuine, to run an organization like the NCD, there needs to be adequate funding and logistics for example, they inherited a US$ 280,000 (two hundred
and eighty thousand United States dollars) budget for the entity for this 2024/ 2025 Budget year.

He noted that, this amount pales in comparison to what was allotted last year which was around the neighborhood of almost US$1 million.

He added that interventions of central government such as providing subsidies, Empowerment Programs, and logistics for coordinators in the counties and funding for the Disability Summit for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDD) cannot be overemphasized.

Mr. Dean also said immediately after they received their green letter from President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, they hit the ground running and started to engage the Budget Hearing Ad hoc committee, led
Representative Dixon Seboe.

“It is no secret that if we are going to successfully emancipate our people, we will need money” the NCD Boss said.

He told gathering that they plan to decentralize the intervention and to do that, they will have to do an enumeration of all PWDs nationwide.

As part of the commission’s mandate in consistent with the Act establishing the National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) by the 51st National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia in November 2005, NCD
was established to have jurisdiction over matters involving and appertaining to the welfare and wellbeing of PWDs.

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