The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), an energy think-thank, has launched a braille version of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) report on the oil and gas sector, 2015.
This is to provide persons with visual impairment the opportunity to access the content of the report.
The project was funded by OXFAM, an international civil society organisation.
According to the Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Benjamin Boakye, the organisation has been analysing the government’s expenditure in the extractive sector and proposing programmes and policies to that effect.
However, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) had often been excluded in the outcome of researches, reports and information on the sector.
“What we have recognised is that Persons with Disabilities have often not been considered or included in the way government spends money,” he added.
Mr Boakye said ACEP had made it a priority to ensure inclusiveness in discussions on the extractive sector.
He also pointed out that, “the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations had incorporated disability, so a nation could not achieve the SDGs without thinking about PWDs.”
“This is just the beginning of the things that we want to do with regard to PWDs. We want to make sure that whatever the country is doing, whatever money the government is spending, has the disabled person in mind, particularly with infrastructural works in the country,” he asserted.
Mr Boakye added that the braille version would be made available online for interested persons to download and print across the world.
Speaking to journalists after the launch, the Executive Director of the Ghana Blind Union, Dr Peter Obeng Asamoah, expressed his gratitude to ACEP and entreated other civil society organisations to also extend support to the union.
He further commended ACEP, saying: “their gesture falls in line with (Article 21) of the United Nations Convention for the rights of PWDs which talks about the right to information.”
Recounting their challenges, Mr Asamoah said “For a long time we have been left out of discussions, but I am pleased to know that things are beginning to change.”
For her part, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, who launched the report, gave an assurance that the government would address grievances of PWDs.
She urged them to unite as one body to demand for their rights, particularly concerning their share of the District Assembly Common Fund.