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Mr. Douglas Quartey
Mr. Douglas Quartey

Scrutinise draft NPO bill to prevent over-regulation - Dev't Consultant

Civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Ghana must carefully review the draft non-profit organization (NPO) bill to avoid over-regulation that could stifle their effectiveness.

This was the key message delivered by Mr. Douglas Quartey, a development consultant, at a policy dialogue organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on the theme "Safeguarding Civic Space through an Enabling NPO Legislation in Ghana."

Implications

In a presentation titled "The Implications of FATF-Inspired AML/CFT Measures on NPOs in Ghana," he highlighted both the positive and negative impacts of implementing anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CFT) measures on NPOs.

He emphasised that while these measures are crucial for combating financial crimes, excessive regulation can burden NPOs and impede their vital work.

According to Mr. Quartey, positive outcomes from the implementation of AML/CFT measures, such as the a) establishment of the NPO Secretariat; b) introduction of the NPO license; c) increased transparency in NPO activities; and d) renewed urgency for passing an NPO law. 

However, he stated that the negative implications include: a) increased regulatory hurdles such as police verification; b) increased financial scrutiny; c) lack of transparency in the implementation process; d) challenges in policy execution; and e) inadequacies in the legal framework.

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Way forward

On the way forward, Mr. Quartey called for a more innovative, forward-looking, and locally owned NPO bill that prioritizes enabling NPOs to thrive and contribute to Ghana's development.

He emphasised the need for a balanced approach to NPO regulation, urging NPOs to conduct a thorough review of the draft NPO bill, highlighting potential areas of overregulation, and offering alternative policy solutions.

Prior to the FATF report on the not-for-profit sector, the IDEG has served as the secretariat of the CSO coalition on NPO bill and played instrumental roles in amplifying CSO voices and responses on the issues.

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