MPs want more financing for the disabled
MP Pierre Claver Rwaka, last week, called on all ministries to factor in the interests of persons with disabilities in their respective budget frameworks.
Rwaka, who is a member of the Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on Social Affairs, noted this when officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Minicom) appeared before the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony to defend their 2012/13 budget allocations. The legislator represents the disabled in parliament.
The MP stressed that a country cannot develop if people with disabilities are inadequately catered for.
“They [ministries] highlighted plans for the youth, women, and others but Honourable Chairperson, no country can claim it is developing when a section of the population is left behind.
“Every ministry ought to show the plan it has for these people because mainstreaming disability is a cross cutting issue. Honourable Chairperson, please, remind all these people about this issue; as for us, we can’t be in this session all the time,” Rwaka pointed out as he appealed to MP Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, the chairperson of the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.
Advocacy to promote the interests of persons with disabilities gained impetus when officials in the ministry of local government (Minaloc) appeared before the committee to defend their total Rwf45,88 billion from the Minaloc budget.
The government last year set up a new agency – the national council of persons with disabilities (NCPD), to largely serve as an advocacy platform as well as facilitating government to implement related policies and programmes.
The NCPD has a budget allocation of Rwf 593, 533, 619 out of Minaloc’s budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Speaking to The New Times after the Thursday session, Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the NCPD Executive Secretary, noted that he supported Rwaka’s proposal to allocate more support to persons with disabilities through all ministries.
Ndayisaba cited the key challenges as lack of budget categorisation for the over 500,000 persons with disabilities country countrywide, as well as the need to conduct a support needs assessment with manufacturers of rehabilitation material. Ndayisaba said that despite coordination from the ministry of health, more assistance is needed.
“Another is insufficient budget allocated to NCPD compared to its mission and responsibilities, especially the social protection budget.”
Ndayisaba said the categorisation exercise may cost at least Rwf 1.068 billion in response to a query from MP Mukayuhi. The minister of Local Government, James Musoni, however, informed the committee that it was the Ministry of Health that budgeted for the work.
Kigali mayor told the committee that the NCPD intends to create public awareness on pertinent legislations and set up a guiding strategic plan. The strategic plan’s creation will cost an estimated Rwf 33 million.
Reports from India, on Sunday, indicated that the National Advisory Council (NAC), chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, recommended giving tax incentives to private employers who are disabled as part of measures to enable their greater participation in the workforce. It is reported that while giving its suggestions on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPDB), the NAC has also suggested the extension of subsidies and financial incentives to persons with disabilities (PWD) to start small-scale income generation activities.
On March 1, the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, called for enhancement of political participation among persons with disabilities through the removal of barriers that prevent them from participation in political life and public affairs.
A recent study conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) shows that in many countries, persons with disabilities continue to encounter a number of legal, physical and communication barriers.