President Nana Akufo-Addo has called on Parliament to speed up the passage of the much-awaited Affirmative Action Bill currently before the legislative house for their consideration and approval. Nana Akufo-Addo announced in the State of the Nation Address (SONA 2024) on Tuesday (February 27, 2024) that Cabinet in October 2023 approved the revised the National Gender Policy and the Affirmative Action Bill.

“Mr. Speaker, in line with government’s commitment to ensure gender equality, the revised National Gender Policy and the Affirmative Action Bill were approved by Cabinet in October 2023. The Affirmative Action Bill is currently before Parliament for consideration and approval” he said.

The President in his address disclosed that the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is implementing an only women support programme, where micro, small and medium enterprises, owned by women, with the potential for scaling up their operations, increasing sales and creating sustainable jobs, will receive liquidity support.

He added that the GEA is also implementing the YouStart Programme, a youth empowerment programme, which recently disbursed one hundred million cedis (GH¢100 million) to some three thousand youth beneficiaries to upscale their businesses.

“Mr. Speaker, we are also implementing some interventions directed at providing support for persons with disabilities. In June, last year, a significant boost was given to micro, small and medium enterprises owned by persons with disabilities, when Government launched the twelve[1]million-cedi (GH¢12 million) PWD Enterprise Support Programme.”

He emphasized this grant support programme, under the Ghana Transformative Project, is being funded by the World Bank, stressing that the Youth Employment Agency has initiated a ground breaking employment drive targeting two hundred and eighty-two (282) persons with disabilities who worked at the defunct tollbooths.

Meanwhile, the Affirmative Action Bill seeks to encourage efforts towards addressing sociocultural, political, economic and educational gender imbalances in both private and public sectors pursuant to Clause 4 of Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution.

The country in 2011 reintroduced processes to have the Affimative Action bill passed into law but efforts has suffered setbacks and has failed to pass through the mill in Parliament.

Civil Society Organizations and advocacy groups over the years have amplified their voices and underscored the need for the passage of the bill but successive governments have failed to heed to the call.