Editorial: While passing the anti-gay bill may be good, we must consider its potential implications

The recent passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values (Anti-LGBTQ) Bill by the Parliament of Ghana has sparked significant debate and concern, both domestically and internationally.

The bill aims at promoting proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values and proscribes the promotion and advocacy for LGBTQ+ practices. The Bill is yet to be given assent by President Akufo Addo.

While the intentions behind the bill may be well-meaning, it is crucial to carefully consider its potential implications, particularly in light of the economic consequences outlined in the recent report.

Most Ghanaians have expressed their joy at the passage of the anti-gay bill because it will go a long way to promote proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values. However, the happiness has been curtailed by a plea from the Ministry of Finance to President Akufo-Addo not to assent to the recently passed anti-LGBTQ bill by Parliament.

In a press release on Monday, March 4, 2024 the Finance Ministry cautioned that approving the bill could result in significant financial consequences for Ghana. According to the Finance Ministry’s statement, Ghana stands to lose a substantial amount of World Bank financing, estimating a potential loss of USD$3.8 billion over the next five to six years.

This was after the Finance Minister, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, convened an Emergency Meeting with Chief Director and Director of the Ministry, the Governor and 1st Deputy Governor at Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Commissioner-General of GRA to ascertain the immediate impact of the passage of the Bill on the implementation of the 2024 Budget.

The Report summarised deliberations at the meeting and provides recommendations for the consideration of the President. The report indicated that if the President gives consent to anti-LGBTQ bill, it is likely to affect our relationship with the International Monetary Fund, which will go a long way to affect the financial Aids offered to us.

This loss of financial support would have profound consequences for our economy, jeopardising crucial development initiatives and undermining our ability to achieve our national goals outlined in the 2024 Budget, according to the finance ministry.

However, the report further advised that if the President decides sign the bill, then there has to be 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 and to build a stronger coalition and a framework for supporting key development initiative that are likely to be affected.

It also advised that there should be an effective engagement with conservative countries, including the Arab countries and China. This could help trigger resources to fill in the potential financing gaps to be created.

In the light of these concerns, we urge the President to carefully deliberate on his decision regarding the bill. Rather than rushing to sign it into law, we believe that a more prudent approach of bringing all stakeholders to the table to initiate a national dialogue on the matter will be the best way to go.

This national dialogue should involve a wide range of stakeholders, including government officials, civil society organisations, religious leaders and political parties. The goal of this dialogue would be to thoroughly examine the implications of the bill from both social and economic perspectives and to explore alternative solutions that uphold human rights while also addressing concerns about family values.

Furthermore, we echo the recommendation put forth by the Ministry of Finance to engage with international partners and explore alternative sources of funding to mitigate the potential loss of World Bank financing and strengthening partnerships with conservative countries and leveraging the principles of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda could help to fill the financing gap and support key development initiatives.

Ultimately, the decision on the Anti-LGBTQ Bill should not be taken lightly. It is imperative that the President takes the time to carefully consider the economic and social ramifications of this legislation and to engage in a transparent and inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders. By doing so, we can ensure that our policies are not only grounded in our shared values but also contribute to the country’s long-term prosperity and stability.

As a nation, we have overcome many challenges in the past through dialogue and cooperation. We are confident that by coming together to address this issue, we can find a balanced approach that respects the rights of all citizens while also safeguarding our economic well-being.


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