He country has deepened the registration of non-profit organisations (NPOs) in order to boost international and local confidence in the sector and insulate it from money laundering.
As of last month, the NPO Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection had registered 12,074 NPOs.
The number of NPOs that renewed their licences also increased from 829 in 2018 to 4,840 in 2022.
The increased number has been attributed to the introduction of the NPO policy and licensing regime to ward off any threat of the sector being used for illicit conduct.
The Head of NPO Secretariat, Dela Ashiabor, made this known on the sideline of a validation workshop on a Baseline Study on “the impact of Ghana’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) measures on NPOs in Accra last Thursday.
Organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) with support from the Global Centre on Cooperative Security, the workshop was aimed at examining the findings of the study to proffer constructive criticisms and to make recommendations to strengthen its findings.
MrAshiabor indicated that there were no restrictions in the licensing processes because the exercise had been digitalised.
He said it was possible to obtain a provisional licence within a week after applying for it provided the applicant followed the right steps.
He said after the provisional licence was given, the applicant was also required to provide a police or criminal report which sometimes delayed the process of acquiring the licence.
Mr Ashiabor further explained that during renewal of licences, the secretariat would still check if the organisation applying for renewal was still within the financial system, and so it would be required to provide a tax certificate from the Ghana Revenue Authority.
Mr Ashiabor observed that after an assessment was conducted by the secretariat, it found out that “a lot of faith-based and humanitarian organisations are the ones that did not have a governance or financial structure and so they are the ones the criminals want to exploit”.
He said in order to encourage NPOs to join the financial system legally, the secretariat had been assisting them to create their own accounts and establish their board of directors as part of the requirements for the registration process.
Giving an overview of the Baseline study and Research findings, a Development Consultant, Douglas Quartey, said the NPOs must strengthen their internal governance and financial management structures to conform to the country’s AML/CTF laws.
He suggested that NPOs must carry out due diligence on funding sources as well as stakeholders expediting action to develop Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial guidelines for the NPO sector.
A Senior Research Fellow, IDEG , Kwesi Jonah, expressed the hope that the country would not get back to the era when, in 2020, it was blacklisted by the European Union for lapses in its AML /CTF regimes.
He said IDEG was implementing a project titled “safeguarding NPOs in Ghana against financing from terrorists” to help raise awareness of NPOs on AML/CTF risks facing the sector.
The project, he noted, was also to promote an interface between high level policy makers and NPOs against restrictive policy and legislative measures on the industry by the government.
He said the overall objective of the baseline study was to capture and document the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendation eight by the government and its impact on NPOs.