The Executive Director at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, has called for the amendment of the political party funding laws to reflect the realities on the ground.
He said the restrictions or prohibitions against funding of political parties should be removed, and that, instead of outright prohibition, “we must tighten the requirement for disclosure of funding by both the donor and the recipient and institute rigid enforcement of sanctions against failure to disclose or inadequate disclosure of giving and receiving”.
Professor Gyimah-Boadi was speaking at a symposium organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on the topic “The case for private funding of political parties”.
He advised that the country’s tax laws should also be amended to enable individuals and corporate donors to political parties to offset all or a percentage of their donations against their tax obligations to the state.
“The current arrangement under which individuals and corporate bodies get little or no direct tax deduction benefits from their donations to parties candidates is simply untenable and bound to cause mischief”.
He said funding of political parties must necessarily begin with party membership, leadership and chief promoters through dues and membership donations.
“It is best that this is done through regular payment of dues, perhaps on a monthly basis, and frequent grassroots fundraising events” he added.
He said it was necessary to fully explore and expand state support for political parties and that, all FM and TV stations, public or private could be required to provide a certain number of “free” adverts for political parties during election seasons.
Professor Gyimah-Boadi said any cash support for political parties must be limited to “matching funds” and show proof that they had raised a certain amount of money from their membership, before they might be even considered for state funding.
He said parties that received matching funds ought to agree to caps on their total spending on primaries and general elections and they should also disclose all of their sources of funds of candidates in presidential primaries.
Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, an economic consultant, speaking on the topic “The case for state funding of political parties” said the bill on the state funding of political parties if passed, should come from both state and non-state sources and also make room for domestic and non-domestic sources, including “foreigners”.
He said, “There are those who argue that the law that forbids financial and other donations by foreigners to political parties is already being flouted as foreign governments and even individuals provide financial and other forms of assistance to parties.”
Dr. Nii Moi proposed that a separate fund administrator should rather be appointed for the proposed political parties’ fund.
He called for an extensive public education to clarify all issues before the bill on state funding of political parties, was submitted to parliament.
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