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Government urged to allow duty free importation of assistive devices

Teenage deaf girls from Nyeri County entertain guests in a dance to mark this year’s International Day for Persons with Disability at Karatina stadium today proving that disability is not inability. The dance thrilled the crowd despite the rains and cold. Photo by KNA.
The Nyeri County NCPWD, Ms. Madrine Njeri speaks to the press at Karatina Stadium, Nyeri County during  celebrations to mark this year’s International Day for Persons with Disability on Tuesday December 3, 2019. Photo by KNA.

The  government has been urged to allow importation of assistive devices tax free to enable more people living with disabilities access them and enjoy a comfortable life.

The National Council for People Living with Disability (NCPWD) Nyeri County Coordinator, Madrine Njeri  said the exorbitant prices of the devices were denying many disabled people the devices.

Njer  was speaking on Tuesday at Karatina stadium in Nyeri County during celebrations to mark this year’s International Day for Persons with Disability whose theme was “Leaving No One Behind”.

The Coordinator at the same time said many organizations were willing to import the devices but the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was a hindrance.

“There are many organizations that want to bring the devices but our setback is the Kenya Revenue Authority,” the coordinator noted.

She expressed optimism that through the intervention of the national government and the Council of Governors, the assistive devices would come into the country tax free.

She suggested that the Nyeri Level Five Hospital Orthopedic department be empowered to make assistive devices adding that PLWD would access them at affordable rates.

She appealed to Nyeri county government through the county boss, Mutahi Kahiga to empower the department so that assistive devices would be acquired easily.

Njeri  added that there were trained technicians at the orthopedic department who would make the devices at an affordable rate noting that raw materials were readily available locally.

“We want to grow our economy and because raw materials are available within our counties, let us empower our level five hospitals so that they can make them at an affordable price,” she said.

The coordinator appealed to the government to increase budgetary allocation to the cash transfer programme to ensure all people living with disability were brought on board adding that only about 3,000 people with severe disability are receiving the Sh.2, 000 monthly stipend against about 11, 000 people in the county.

Speaking during the same occasion, an official from the Nyeri Disability Network, Joseph Nungo decried the exclusion of PLWD in government positions.

Nungo noted that they were not represented at the Nyeri County Assembly and wondered who advocated for their interests when laws were being passed.

He added that the many challenges faced by PLWD especially in accessing government storey buildings were occasioned because they were not involved during the construction works.

By  Mwangi  Gaitha

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