Monrovia, Liberia - The Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs and Acting Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samora P. Z. Wolokolie has assured that challenges facing visually impaired person s across the country will get “due relevance and attention” from the government of President George M. Weah.
Speaking Monday, October 15, 2018, at the commemoration of World White Cane Safety Day organized by the Christian Association of the Blind where he proxied for Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, as Keynote Speaker, the Acting Finance Minister emphasized that the commemoration of the World White Cane Safety Day was a manifestation of the world’s recognition that those with visual impairment were just as important as those without visual impairment and must be respected as such.
He conveyed gratitude to the Liberia Christian Association of the Blind for organizing the occasion and recounted that over the years, the organization has continued to serve as an effective vehicle in channeling the needs and challenges of the blind and other physically challenged persons.
Minister Wolokolie also acknowledged the organization’s leadership for their tireless efforts in advocating support for the plight of the vulnerable community. He saluted Mr. Beyan Korta, President of CAB, and his team for keeping CAB as a vibrant, strong and engaged institution.
Honorable Wolokolie further noted that the observance of the World White Cane Safety Day provided an opportunity for national stakeholders (including government, civil society, students, ordinary citizens, etc.) to review society’s actions and attitudes towards the blind community and ask what he described as the “hard questions”.
According to Minister Wolokolie, some of the hard questions stakeholders must ask themselves are: are we providing opportunities for the blind and vulnerable population of our country; are we respectful of their wishes and aspirations; are we providing accommodations for the challenges they face; are we treating them with dignity they deserve and are our public and private facilities considerate of their needs?
He then emphasized that these are important questions that we must not only be asked but that we must answer.
“Our concerns for the blind community cannot just be the expression of sympathy and empathy. No, the blind do not just need our sympathy alone but they need our concrete support that will give them the dignity they deserve “, he asserted.
Deputy Minister Wolokolie stressed that in the context of Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, all forms of discriminations against our vulnerable population must end. He added that the blind, visually impaired and other members of the vulnerable segment of our citizenry must be given equal access to jobs and other opportunities.
He furthered that while there are government supported initiatives to people with disabilities such support should be increased in the confines of our fiscal space.
Meanwhile, Hon. Wolokolie informed the gathering that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning working in partnership with the blind community will develop an inclusive framework that encompasses social development and economic sustainability is pursued in the interest of the blind in Liberia.