The policy rationale for the allocation of a share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) is one of egalitarianism (social equality) and affirmative in principle.
It is egalitarian (equal) in that it helps to breach the gap between PWDs and able-bodied persons. The fact that it is given to only PWDs who are historically disadvantaged makes it affirmative (favourable).
The 3% Common Fund for PWDs is a very important policy intervention as it would, among other things, provide a fund for the education, health, and economic empowerment of the target group. This would help safeguard their welfare, promote the realization of their full potentials and accelerate their contribution to national development.
However, it is contended in this article that the 3% Common Fund for PWDs falls short of common sense as it adopts a wrong method of distribution. After the Common Fund Administrator had disbursed the DACF to all the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) using the approved formulae, each of the MMDAs then appropriates 3% of the amount they have received as DACF as the Common Fund for PWDs.
This means that a metropolis, like the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, will receive a higher amount than the Talensi District Assembly irrespective of whether or not there are many PWDs in the latter than the former.
Increase of Disability Fund from 2% to 3%
While this modest increment demands commendation for its adjustable benefits, it falls short of addressing the nagging “Principle of Proportionality”.
The “Principle of Proportionality”, herein used for ease of analysis, is what would enhance scalable benefits and accelerated social impact while meeting the needs of PWDs.
By the “Principle of Proportionality”, I mean the equitable allocation of resources based on number. For instance, if there are many PWDs in a particular MMDA, that MMDA should receive a higher amount of Disability Fund than one with fewer PWDs— amount is proportional to number.
However, the current arrangement allocates 3% of the DACF to the Disability Fund for PWDs in that particular MMDA irrespective of the number of PWDs.
This means that, even if there are 1,200 PWDs in the Talensi District and 60 PWDs in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, the Disability Fund of the KMA would be bigger than that of the Talensi District because the KMA receives a higher DACF than the Talensi District.
It is, therefore, suggested that instead of using this crude method for the distribution of the 3% Common Fund for PWDs, the funds should be allocated to the various MMDAs based on the number of PWDs in the respective MMDA.
As such, the Administrator of the Common Fund, with approval from Parliament, should establish a National Disability Common Fund (NDCF), instead of instructing the 254 MMDAs to allocate 3% of their respective DACF for PWDs, and should transfer the 3% of the DACF (under Act 455) to the National Disability Common Fund.
A National Disability Common Fund Administration Committee should be established with clear-cut functions of vetting applications from the various District Disability Common Fund Administration Committees.
As a final recommendation, the District Disability Common Fund Administration Committees should be maintained with their current functions. These committees should be responsible for the vetting of applications at the district level for onward submission to the National Disability Fund Management Committee. After the approval of the National Disability Fund Management Committee, the District Disability Common Fund Administration Committees would then make disbursements to the approved applicants.
Author: Alagskomah Eugene (Local Governance and Development Policy Analyst)