Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana face the threat of terrorism funding and money-laundering as a result of a decline in donor funding post COVID-19 period coupled with a weak national economy.
Such decline, according to the 2021 Sustainability Index(CSOSI) Report which was launched yesterday in Accra was weakening the financial base of CSOs in the country.
The Report was launched by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) on the theme “Post COVID Sustainability Emerging Opportunities and Threats”.
Presented annually, the report sought to assess the performance of CSOs in Ghana and other countries.
The Development Consultant and Author of the Ghana CSOSI Report, Mr Douglas Quartey, in his presentation noted that adequate financing continued to remain a major challenge of CSOs.
He indicated that financial challenge had worsened since Ghana was declared as a middle income earning country and its discovery of oil.
This, Mr Quartey noted had made donor agencies and countries turn their attention to other countries described as low-income earning countries.
Other threats the report revealed due to inadequate financial base were the collapse of CSOs, donor micro-management and limited unemployment.
Despite the poor financial viability, the report indicated that CSOs in the country were performing well in the areas such as public image enhancement and service provision under the evolving rating which stood at 4.2 as well as the legal environment and impeding dimensional rating.
In order to address the threats, the report provided some notable recommendations such as the adaptation of new and innovative strategies by CSOs, creation of an enabling policy environment and the strengthening of the capacity of the Non-Profit Organisation NPO Secretariat were made.
On his part, a Senior Research Fellow at IDEG, Mr Kwesi Jonah, bemoaned the lack of financial support from government in the operations of CSOs in the country.
“It is unfortunate that even though, government appreciates the extraordinary role that CSOs play in the country, yet it does not assess CSOs as a paid for financial entity,”Mr Jonah said.
He therefore, appealed to the government to consider providing financial support to CSOs in the country as they constituted the bedrock of its democratic governance.
The Head of the NPO Secretariat, Mr Dela Ashiagbor, noted that government policies such as tax exemptions was a way of easing the financial burden on CSOs.
However, he said such a policy was being abused by some CSOs as they made personal use of goods imported order than the purpose for which it was meant.
Additionally, Mr Ashiagbor explained that volunteerism was key to drive democratic and national development, hence, charged CSOs to create a platform that would allow individuals both in Ghana and outside the country to join and contribute their quota.
Mr Ashiagbor indicated that government policies were not meant to impede the growth of CSOs but was formulated to ensure standard and accountability.
He also attributed the threat of terrorist funding and money laundry to the lack of government and financial structure which made them vulnerable.
“If you notice, you have some of the CSOs who do not have government and financial structure. That way anyone can send you money and come back and take that money for their own private use,” Mr Ashiagbor said.
He therefore, urged CSOs to ensure that they had organised government and financial structures to avert such issues.
BY BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY