Eldoret, June 14, 2024 (Public Communication and Media Relations)

Turkana County Government in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) has facilitated a stakeholder consultative meeting in a bid to review the issues raised by the Controller of Budget (COB) in the County Persons with Disability Act 2017 and suggest amendments that would operationalize the Act to benefit the welfare of persons with disabilities.

The PWD Act was passed and operationalized in July 2017. It provides for the protection of rights, habilitation and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, enhances equalization of opportunities, and establishes the county board for persons with disabilities.

Cognizant of the COB’s mandate to oversee budget implementation and report to parliament, the WFP-supported meeting sought to review the COB’s recommendations for certifying the release of PWD Funds.

Among the issues raised for amendment were sections 10(3) and 12(1) of the TPWD Act, which provided tax exemptions on all income for employees living with disabilities and on employers who have employed persons with disabilities. The COB observed that under the Constitution, the imposition of income tax is an exclusive mandate of the National Government, and county legislation cannot grant such exemptions.

Regarding the Disability Development Fund, the COB raised that Section 28(1) establishes a Turkana County Person with Disabilities Development Fund, to be allocated 1.5% from the county allocation and money appropriated by the county assembly. The COB said this was contrary to the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, which prohibit public funds from relying on annual appropriations.

The County Executive for Education, Sports and Social Protection, Elizabeth Loote, lauded the support of WFP and other partners for reviewing and amending the sections of the Act that have hindered its full operationalization. She remarked that her Department will fully implement the amended Act to realize economic empowerment for persons with disabilities across the county.

The Chief Officer for Education (ECDE) and Social Protection, Moses Korea, commented that the team will closely work with the PWD Board to ensure they offer protection and safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities, orphans, vulnerable children, marginalized and minority groups.

The Director of Social Protection, Mark Amiyo, said his Directorate will be committed to ensuring all legal and policy frameworks are enforced and implemented to deliver services as expected to the disabled. His colleague, Hebrews Idoka, the Deputy Director in the Social Protection docket, thanked all the sector players for their support and collaboration in social protection activities in the county.

The meeting was attended by representatives from various organizations, including WFP, IRC, UNICEF, Save The Children, NCPWD, USAID Nawiri, the Office of the County Attorney, Turkana County Assembly, organizations of persons with disabilities, and the Kenya Law Reforms Commission.

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13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024