FG Restates Commitment to Promoting Local Production of Quality, Affordable Assistive Devices

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By Stephen Adeleye.

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to continue to provide an enabling environment for the sustainability of the local producers to thrive.

The Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, gave the assurance at the inauguration of a three-day capacity building workshop for Local Producers of Assistive Technologies (AT) on Tuesday in Lokoja.

Farouq said that the workshop was put together with the aim of ensuring that millions of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) enjoy the right to independent living, inclusion and participation through local production of quality and affordable assistive devices.

According to her, the workshop is to enlighten local producers on how best to maintain, develop and improve production; interact with successful producers; and ensure standardisation and quality control of production.

Represented by Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, the Director, Special Need Department of the ministry, the minister said the cost of importing the devices was becoming high on the federal government and therefore need to look inwards.

”This can be achieved by encouraging our local producers to rise up to the occasion by challenging the status quo and deliver quality products that can match up with foreign ones.

”’Government is ready and would continue to provide enabling environment for the sustainability of our local producers to thrive.

”Our gathering here today is to enable us explore greater possibilities in our collective quest to addressing issues of inclusiveness among PWDs especially regarding provision of quality assistive devices,” she said.

Farouq stressed that the workshop would enhance the development of their entrepreneurial competencies to favourably compete in the business environment.

She urged all stakeholders to ensure improved access to assistive devices to enable PWDs to participate more actively in societal activities and adapt positively to challenges of impairment.

”We must also change our attitudes on stereotypes towards persons with disabilities by promoting interventions that could enhance independent living for the development of healthy self-esteem,” Farouq said.

She noted that each of the identified local producers of assistive devices who participated in the training would be given a grant of N200,000 at the end of the workshop to boost their production.

The minister, therefore advised the beneficiaries to maximise the opportunities and efficiently utilise it to show the world that they could deliver on domestic need of assistive device in Nigeria.

She stressed that ministry would also monitor to ensure proper utilisation of the fund.

In her remarks, the Kogi State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Fatima Buba, congratulated the beneficiaries and thanked the federal government for the gesture.

Buba, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Eleni, the Ag. Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said the event symbolised commitment at all levels to ensure protection and advancement of PWDs to live independent life for all-inclusive national development.

The commissioner further commended the State Governor, Alh Yahaya Bello, for his prompt attention towards giving a new baize of life to PWDs.

One of the beneficiaries, who is a local producer of assistive devices, Aminu Mohammed, thanked the Minister for organising the workshop and for assisting them with the grant to boost their production.

The assistive devices are: prosthetics, wheelchairs, clutches, walkers, hearing aid, walking sticks, among others.


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