Home » Finance Ministry Warns Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Approval

Finance Ministry Warns Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Approval

Finance Ministry Urges Akufo-Addo to Consider Economic Impact Before Signing

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
Finance Ministry Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

The Ghanaian Finance Ministry has issued a stark warning to President Nana Akufo-Addo: do not sign the controversial Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into law. This plea, made public on Monday, March 4, emphasizes the potential financial fallout that could arise from the enactment of this legislation, particularly concerning the loss of crucial international funding.

At the heart of the ministry’s concerns are two significant financial supports from international bodies that could be jeopardized. The first, a US$300 million financing package from the First Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (Budget Support), awaits Parliamentary green light. Its disbursement hangs in the balance, contingent on the fate of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill. Similarly, ongoing talks for a second installment of US$300 million under the Second Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation are at risk of being halted.

The potential withdrawal or suspension of these funds poses a dire threat to Ghana’s financial planning, potentially leaving a gaping hole in the 2024 budget. Such a scenario would not only derail the country’s economic recovery plans but also challenge its ability to fund key development initiatives. In an effort to mitigate these risks, the Finance Ministry has proposed a path forward that involves engaging with Ghana’s conservative and religious factions. By opening dialogue with religious bodies and faith-based organizations, the ministry hopes to communicate the economic dangers posed by the bill’s passage. The goal is to foster a united front, rallying support for development projects that could suffer in the bill’s wake.

Moreover, the ministry suggests that President Akufo-Addo should consider delaying his decision on the bill until the court has had the opportunity to address legal challenges posed by civil society organizations (CSOs) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). The bill, which Parliament passed on February 28, 2024, has ignited a firestorm of debate both within Ghana and internationally. It proposes harsh penalties for LGBTQ activities, including jail terms ranging from six months to three years for individuals convicted under the new law. Additionally, those found guilty of promoting or sponsoring LGBTQ+ activities could face three to five years in prison.

This legislative move has not only drawn criticism from domestic stakeholders but also from international figures such as Virginia Evelyn Palmer, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, who has voiced her concerns over the bill’s implications for human rights and freedoms. The Finance Ministry’s intervention highlights the delicate balance Ghana must strike between upholding its legislative sovereignty and maintaining vital international relationships and financial support.

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