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It is amusing for Ghanaian politicians to criticize CSOs for receiving funds from foreigners – CDD boss

Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh has stated that it is amusing that politicians can chastise Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for receiving foreign funding for their activities, arguing that even though the Government of Ghana which is manned by politicians has loads of resources at its disposal, it still relies on foreign funding for many of its projects and programmes.The head of the independent, non-governmental and non-profit research and advocacy institute which is dedicated to promoting democracy, good governance and economic openness throughout Ghana and the African continent, is disappointed that politicians who rely on foreign funding have no scruples criticising CSOs for receiving foreign funds.

“Of the many unflattering things that get said about the CSO community, especially these days, the one I find most amusing is the fact that CSOs are funded by foreign donors. True, but that comment or observation wouldn’t be nearly as amusing if it wasn’t coming from Ghanaian citizens and politicians.

Here is a country richly endowed with all manner of natural resources (gold, bauxite, timber, oil and gas, etc), all of which are vested in the Government, to be used ostensibly for the benefit of the people. Here is a country with a Government that, like every government, has full sovereign power to impose and collect taxes within its realm. Yet, with all of these resources and all the power at its disposal, the Government of Ghana has never been able to generate internally the revenues it needs even to finance its own day-to-day activities, let alone finance the country’s capital needs. Our Government has persistently relied on foreign borrowing and giving to fend for itself and its people, including to renovate and maintain the seat of our Imperial Presidency and build the principal offices of our Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs. In fact, we have gotten so used to this that, these days a government’s ability to borrow more money from foreign sources than its rivals has become a badge of honour of sorts. And we want to diss CSOs for relying on foreign donors?” He wondered in a post sighted by MyNewsGh.com

His comments seem to be a reaction to criticisms by veteran journalist and former Minister of State in Charge of Education, Elizabeth Ohene, who lashed out at CSOs for their reliance on foreign funding.

Criticisms by Ms Elizabeth Ohene and others seem to suggest that CSOs work for foreign interests since they receive their funding from foreigners. But Prof Prempeh has dismissed these assertions.

“This has to be what Brother Jesus of Nazareth meant when he admonished his flock to remove the log from their eyes before pretending to notice or remove the speck from their neighbour’s eyes. (Matthew 7: 5) Citizens and politicians whose profligate governments cannot use their sovereign taxing power and abundance of natural resources to fend for themselves and, thus, find themselves having to borrow and beg incessantly from foreign donors and creditors should not be heard calling nonprofit CSOs names for relying on foreign donors to fund their proposals and projects. And if borrowing and taking grants routinely from foreign sources cannot be presumed, ipso facto, to turn our governments into pawns of those foreign sources of finance, neither should that be presumed to the case with any CSO,” he noted.

Copied from: Ghana web

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