By Tafara Chikumira
Government has announced a cocktail of measures that are being implemented to ensure people with disabilities are included in various sectors of the economy.
The three-day 9th National Disability Expo held in Gweru saw government reiterating its commitment to prioritising concerns of people with disabilities.
Special advisor to the President on Disability Issues Dr Joshua Malinga had raised concern on how people with disabilities are excluded from accessing government benefits through bottlenecks that can easily be rectified.
“Wherever I go, I am usually presented with the same problems of people with disabilities failing to access certain facilities. There are huge barriers that the people with disabilities face in society. However, I have a master plan on how to remove barriers. There are barriers to everything across the ministries and this should not be left to one ministry to address. We need all the ministers to lift the barriers so that we can also be able to go to school and get access to all privileges enjoyed by Zimbabweans,” Dr Malinga said.
Government Ministers who attended the Expo took turns to highlight the progress made to ensure concerns of people with disabilities are addressed.
Professor Paul Mavima, the Minister of Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, said: “We are now working on making sure that the Disabilities Bill sails through. We are already beginning to implement the Disability Policy which was launched by the President. You will realise that most of the issues you have raised are directly responded to by the dictates of the policy.”
“I have since instructed the guys from the public works department to ensure that there are ramps and proper facilities to be used by people with disabilities at the government complex. We need to ensure that everyone gets the much needed attention to such facilities,” said Senator Larry Mavhima, the Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution.
The Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri said: “Government has since made a commitment to set up a financial institution for you. While we wait for such we are saying there is already a women empowerment bank. Women amongst you must be given a 15 percent access to such funding. There is a youth bank and we are saying lets create 15 percent of funding to youths amongst you.”
Meanwhile, the three-day National Disability Expo also saw several individuals being presented with awards for their contributions in shaping the disability constituency, while several disabilities-related institutions were presented with computers and food hampers.