It is generally held that disability should not be a barrier to one’s ability to perform any endeavour.
We have physically challenged people or what is generally referred to as persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are engaged in all kinds of economic activities in the country.
In the immediate past Mahama administration, Dr Seidu Daanaa served as a Minister of State, and at the recently held Exclusive Men of the Year (EMY) Awards 2017, he was honoured as a Man of Courage.
When he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament as the Roads and Highways Minister-designate early this year, Mr Kwesi Amoako-Atta hinted that a percentage of PWDs would be allowed to manage tollbooths throughout the country.
He indicated that the move was part of the government’s effort to offer gainful employment to PWDs who, otherwise, would have been left to their fate.
Often, PWDs have been left out in the sharing of the national cake, with the excuse that they are not physically strong to compete with the able-bodied.
It is true that physically challenged persons may have some disabilities and, for that matter, some disadvantage, but there is empirical evidence also that they have the capacity to rub shoulders with the so-called able-bodied.
Perhaps, the actions of some PWDs give the impression that they are not ready to use their hands to earn a living.
But it is said that in every society there are bad lots, for which reason it will be wrong to use the brush for a few lazy PWDs to paint everybody in that condition.
We recall that a few years ago, some PWDs managed to produce chalk for basic schools in the country when that commodity was in short supply in the classroom.
The Daily Graphic recalls that the project failed because of the attitude of some public officials at the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) who could not get the schools to patronise the chalk.
It is against this background that the Daily Graphic considers the decision by Mr Amoako-Atta to recruit 200 PWDs as road toll collectors in 35 booths throughout the country as progressive and welcome news.
Last Tuesday, Mr Amoako-Atta, in line with an initiative by the government to create employment opportunities for PWDs in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), offered employment to 74 PWDs.
At a ceremony at the tollbooth on the Accra-Nsawam road, the minister said the recruitment of PWDs was to give real meaning to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directive to all MDAs to reserve special positions for PWDs.
It is our hope that the PWDs who have been offered this opportunity will prove the doubting Thomas’s wrong by raking in revenue more than those from whom they have taken over did.
Some of our compatriots wonder whether the minister took the right decision to put PWDs in the tollbooths, but we are convinced that they are equally capable of doing the job.
The Daily Graphic appeals to all those who have been given the opportunity to serve in the public sector and those to be engaged subsequently to use the opportunity to improve their economic conditions and also erase the impression among the people that PWDs take delight in begging along the streets.
We also appeal to the public servants who will be working with the PWDs and supervising them to be sensitive towards their plight in order to raise their confidence level and help them contribute their quota to nation building.