The government has been urged to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill to determine what its implication will be on the economy before any decision to pass it.
The “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Value Bill 2021” which is before parliament under the private member bill is meant to promote proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family value.
The bill, which is hugely popular among the mostly religious and traditional Ghanaian populace, is being opposed by some human rights-based advocates from international and local organisations and civil society organisations.
Delivering a presentation dubbed, “The Anti-LGBTQ+bill: Its impact on the economy of Ghana,” a policy analyst of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Mr Bernard Anaba, said the cost benefit analysis would help the government avoid the potential reputational, economic and diplomatic friction that the bill had already triggered which could become worse from its passage into law.
Addressing a round table discussion organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on the subject in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Anaba said the Bill had drawn some unpopular attention to Ghana, which could have significant direct and indirect economic impact.
Ghana, he said, had ratified many global and regional conventions on human rights and therefore must take notice of its obligations before passing the bill as there could be both direct and indirect economic impact on the country.
He noted that a clear conflict between key national personalities of the country and key international personalities on the Bill and the stature of those personalities who were major decision makers for the country was a recipe for diplomatic row and potentially a major source of diplomatic tension between Ghana and the UN human rights council.
Proponents of the bill, he said, should also consider resolving all the contradictions and sources of conflict and tension with the United Nations system of human rights which had a better chance of prevailing against the bill in the long run.
Explaining further, he said the impact of criminalisation apart from the generational stigma, would lead to a reduction in access to goods and services for LGBTQ persons and Persons living with HIV (PLHIV) who would be afraid to seek such services for fear of sanctions.
“It will have a backdoor burden on the health system, since the control of the spread of unlimited illness such as HIV will become an obscure economic burden on families. This will lead to a huge black market of health needs and eventually adverse impact on the national economy,” he stated.
Mr Anaba said the country’s budget regularly relied on grants of about four to six per cent each year from donor partners and that the bill could result in delays and reduction in the budgetary support.
A fellow at CDD-Ghana, Dr Theophilus Acheampong, for his part, recommended that the government conduct a follow-up anonymous survey of people who may be described as LGBTQ and which sectors of the economy these individuals were likely to be and determine the scope of the exclusion they were likely to face due to the social norms of the country.