Dr Mohammed Amin Adam — Minister of Finance
Dr Mohammed Amin Adam — Minister of Finance

LGBTQ+ Bill passage: Ghana risks losing $3.8bn

The Ministry of Finance has planned a structured engagement with local conservative forces such as religious bodies and faith-based organisations to communicate the economic implications of the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill on the national budget, proposing a total shift to China and Arab countries as development partners.

Advertisement

The action, government sources contend, has become one of the pragmatic options available to the country, with the ministry projecting a grim economic outlook enforced by uncertainty of financial inflows from foreign sources in the wake of the posturing of Western forces and Western-backed financial institutions.

A Ministry of Finance internal memo, sighted by the Daily Graphic, has projected, for instance, that Ghana could lose up to $3.8 billion in World Bank financing over the next six years.

For 2024 alone, the memo states that “Ghana will lose $600 million budget support and $250 million for the Financial Stability Fund” and adds that “this will negatively impact on Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore the country’s reserve position” Government’s dilemma is founded on the unfavourable commentary from the country’s external financial support sources, notably Western nations.

With the US, especially, and the UN criticising the passage of the Bill, the West signalled its disapproval of a law that criminalises uncultural sexual tendencies and orientations, arguing the issue on the basis of human rights.

The memo, consequently, stressed the need for an effective engagement with conservative countries, notably the nations in the Middle East and China, as alternative financial support sources to trigger resources to fill the potential financing gaps.

The recommendations contained in the memo followed an emergency meeting convened by the Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, following the passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values.

The minister convened the emergency meeting with chief director and directors of the ministry, the governor and first deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana and the commissioner-general of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ascertain the immediate impact of the passage of the Bill on the implementation of the 2024 Budget. 

Implications

On the impact on World Bank-funded programmes, the memo said the expected $300 million financing from the First Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation, a budget support, which is currently awaiting parliamentary approval, might not be disbursed by the World Bank when it was approved by the legislature.

“Ongoing negotiations on the Second Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (Budget Support) amounting to $300 million may be suspended; ongoing negotiations for $250 million to support the Ghana Financial Stability Fund may be suspended,” it said.

It said the disbursement of undisbursed amounts totalling $2.1 billion for ongoing projects would also be suspended, and that preparation of pipeline projects and declaration of effectiveness for two projects worth $900 million may be suspended too.

Budget implementation

The report indicated that the potential loss of those financial resources would create a financing gap in the 2024 Budget that must be addressed either through a significant reduction in the expenditures or additional domestic revenue mobilisation.

Failing this, it said, government’s ability to achieve the targets in the 2024 Budget would be undermined, and the International Monetary Fund-Extended Credit Facility (IMF-ECF) programme would be derailed.

“While there is no direct conditionality in the IMF-ECF Programme relating to the passage of the Bill, the principles of the current IMF-ECF programme are built on predictable financing from development partners (financing assurances), including the World Bank-funded Ghana Resilience Recovery Development Policy Operations.

“Hence the non-disbursement of the budget support from the World Bank will derail the IMF programme.

This will in turn trigger a market reaction which will affect the stability of the exchange rate,” it said.

The report said negotiations with the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Eurobond holders, under Ghana’s debt restructuring programme, was predicated on the success of the IMF programme.

Hence, it said, a derailed IMF programme would have dire consequences on the debt restructuring exercise and Ghana’s long term debt sustainability. 

MoF level

At the MoF level, the memo said the ministry would continue to engage with the IMF on the alternative credible sources of funding that could plug the financing gap, and that the GRA would embark on a vigorous revenue mobilisation drive focusing on implementation of approved measures, as well as compliance.

The ministry, it said, would consider possible expenditure rationalisation to accommodate the shock from the potential withdrawal of resources, and leverage the Ghana Beyond Aid principles and change the structure of resource mobilisation.

“We must improve our domestic resource mobilisation efforts by working towards our medium-term tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) target of 17 per cent to 18 per cent, and eventually wean ourselves off the unsustainable dependency on development assistance,” it said.  

“The passage of the new Bill calls for fortifying local financial systems, strengthening African financial institutions, as well as our development journey in partnership with other countries,” the memo said.

In line with the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, it said the country could navigate the complexities of international relations and emerge with a robust, resilient economy with Ghanaian ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, the communication document emphasised.

Reaction

Responding to government fears about the implications of the passage of the Bill, the co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Dr Steve Manteaw, said he did not envy the President at all since he was caught in a dilemma as a result of the pressure on him and the subsequent implications of his action.

He, however, said the President should go ahead and assent to the Bill as the country would find ways of surviving, adding that what the country needed was to be pushed to the corner to make it innovative in terms of managing its resources.

Dr Manteaw, said because the country was under an IMF programme and was aid-dependent, it would suffer the consequences of the assent to the Bill as international support might be withheld.

“From where I sit, Ghana does not need aid; we just mismanage our resources. If we are to manage our resources very well, this country would not need aid,” he said and added that “before we discovered oil, we were living our lives normally.

So why should we find ourselves in difficulties, when we have oil added to gold and other resources?”

The Head of Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Seidu Alidu, also called on the government to re-strategise by working with other development allies in Asia that could help to protect the interest of the nation and support it in terms of aid instead of Western countries like the US, reports Vincent Amenuveve. 

He said the government should also put in place concrete steps to effectively implement the Ghana Beyond Aid initiative, stressing that the passage of the anti-gay Bill had left Ghana “walking a tight rope”.

He said the President would have to choose between pleasing these Western countries or the nation, and that whichever decision he took would have some consequences.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares