Madam Otiko Afisa Gyaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, says Government would promote policies and create enabling environment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to function effectively.
She said it would grant annual tax rebate to employers who employed PWDs and work with relevant stakeholders to develop policies on specific job quota for PWDs in both public and private sectors.
Contrary to the perception that PWDS were not productive workforce, she said employers found PWDS more capable and had lower rate of absenteeism and their loyalty to employers was unquestionable.
Madam Djaba said PWDS often brought new ideas and solutions to their organisations while the cost of hiring them was no longer expensive compared to their able-bodied workforce. Madam Djaba said this in a speech read on her behalf at a Career Fair organised by the Ghana Federation of Disabilities Organisations, in Accra, on Thursday.
The career fair was held on the theme: “Employing Persons with Disabilities to Promote Inclusive and Diversity in the Work Space- the Role of Policy Makers and Employers”. The forum attracted a cross section of the public including heads of departments, civil society organisations, youth groups, employment associations among other well-meaning Ghanaians.
Madam Djaba urged employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees so that they would successfully perform their duties. She mentioned reasonable accommodation as providing interpreters, readers, flexible work schedules, accessible technology and other adaptable equipment.
She noted that employers that did not employ PWDS were missing out on employing loyal workforce. She said Government would offer necessary logistical support to educational institutions that train PWDS so that they could offer relevant technical skill training programmes. Madam Djaba commended the GFD for the initiative and pledged that the Ministry would continue to dialogue and discuss strategies that would create employment for them.
Mr Yaw Ofori Debra, President of the Ghana Federation of Disabilities Organisation, said PWDs faced many daunting challenges including difficulty in securing employment after school.
He said PWDs believed that one way of enhancing their livelihoods was to acquire academic and professional skills to position themselves for the competitive job market. Unfortunately, he said most employers’ response to their employment needs had been discouraging and that constituted barriers to the realisation of their aspirations in life. He urged Government to evolve pragmatic measures to solving the unemployment among PWDs and fashion out employment equity policy that would address the employment needs of PWDs.
He also entreated Government to implement labour related laws enacted to favour PWDs, introduce Affirmation Action policy that would address the numerous challenges of PWDs. Mr Debra also called on the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to implore the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to re-instate the youth with disabilities who had been disengaged because they exceed the age limit of 35.
He said disability delayed the education of most PWDs and proposed that the age limit considered for enrolling PWDs under the YEA should be pegged at 40. The President of GFD asked Government to create a conducive atmosphere for PWDs to function productively and contribute their quota towards national development.
The fair, which was started in 2010 provided a suitable platform for PWDS to highlight their God-given potentials and the need for them to be given the opportunity to serve in various sectors of the national economy.