Influencing the Reform Agenda in Ghana through Research and Advocacy

Our evidence-based research, backed by persistent advocacy, has resulted in several key reforms that have helped consolidate Ghana’s democracy and promoted sustainable economic development. These reforms include:

 I. Governance

  • Passage of the Serious Fraud Office Act, 1993 (Act 466)

Through our groundbreaking research and advocacy, we raised public awareness on the unconstitutionality of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Bill.  Following persistent advocacy, 23 clauses were expunged from the Bill before it was passed as the Serious Fraud Office Act (Act 466) in 1993.

The IEA's 1993 Legislative Alert on The Unconstitutionality of the Serious Fraud Office Bill
The IEA’s 1993 Legislative Alert on The Unconstitutionality of the Serious Fraud Office Bill

 

 

  • Repeal of the Criminal Libel and Sedition Laws, 2001

The IEA won the campaign to repeal the Criminal Libel and Sedition Laws in 2001 following research and advocacy, thereby creating an enabling environment for press freedom in Ghana. Today, the fruits of press freedom are enjoyed by all Ghanaians.

The IEA's 1996 Legislative Alert on The Case for a Repeal of the Criminal and Seditious Libel Laws
The IEA’s 1996 Legislative Alert on The Case for a Repeal of the Criminal and Seditious Libel Laws

 

 

  • Passage of the Whistleblower Act, 2006 (Act 720)

In 2006, an IEA-led initiative, the Whistleblower Bill, was passed into law as the Whistle Blower Act (Act 720). This Act seeks to regulate the manner in which individuals may, in the public interest, disclose information that relate to unlawful or other illegal conduct or corrupt practices of public officials; and provides for the protection against victimization of persons who make these disclosures.

 

  • Contribution to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815)

Following the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 2010, The IEA undertook research and tabled proposals with the view to ensuring that Ghana would not have a re-occurrence of the deficiencies that had characterized the management of other resources, such as gold and diamond. Among the proposals made was the need to establish a Heritage Fund to ensure that future generations also benefited from the revenues. The IEA further proposed the establishment of a Stabilization Fund to cushion the economy from future shocks. We further proposed the establishment of a public oversight body to guarantee transparency and accountability in the use of oil revenues. It is gratifying to note that these and other proposals of The IEA were incorporated into what in 2011 became the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815).

 

  • Passage of the Presidential (Transition) Act, 2012 (Act 845)

In furtherance of our mission of consolidating Ghana’s democracy, The IEA in 2007 drafted the Presidential (Transition) Bill. The Bill was passed into law as the Presidential (Transition) Act (Act 845) in 2012. This piece of legislation provides a framework for managing the political transfer of power from an out-going democratically elected President to an incoming President. The law’s benefits also transcend regime change. Its strong attributes in the areas of accountability and institutional reform are valuable mechanism regardless of the election cycle, as the Act also aims to ensure the effective functioning of government machinery.

Mrs. Mensa and Hon. Rashid Pelpuo at the Celebration of the Passing of the Presidential Transition Act
Mrs. Mensa and Hon. Rashid Pelpuo at the Celebration of the Passing of the Presidential Transition Act

 

  • Key Bills in the Pipeline

 In addition to the above key reforms, The IEA has initiated several Bills which are yet to be passed into law. These include:

  • The Right to Information Bill (1996),
  • Public Funding of Political Parties Bill (2007), and
  • Revised Political Parties Bill (2007).

 

  • Contribution to 1992 Constitution Review Process

Another significant contribution to the deepening of Ghana’s democracy is our research and advocacy that led to the review of the 1992 Constitution.  Following research and nationwide public consultations, the IEA put forward over 25 proposals for the reform of the 1992 Constitution in a study dubbed the Democracy Consolidation Strategy Paper. Several of our proposals were considered as part of Ghana’s Constitutional Review process and a number were accepted and are contained in both the Constitution Review Commission’s (CRC) report and the Government White Paper. Some of the accepted proposals include the need to have a ceiling on the number of Supreme Court judges that may be appointed and the recommendation that chiefs should remain under the constitutional injunction that bans them from active partisan politics.  

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Rev. Dr. Otabil, Justice Annan and Mr. de Rocha at the launch of the 10th Anniversary of the 1992 Constitution
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Rev. Dr. Otabil, Justice Annan and Mr. de Rocha at the launch of the 10th Anniversary of the 1992 Constitution

 

 II. Current Research Initiatives

Our current research initiatives have included:

  • Review of the Winner-Takes-All Practice of Governance

Recognizing that Winner-Takes-All (WTA) politics polarizes the body politic and stifles development, The IEA has initiated research and advocacy on the practice with the view to proposing practical recommendations for reform. To date, The IEA has undertaken nation-wide public consultations and met with identifiable groups to discuss the findings of its research on the phenomenon.  The IEA has provoked public debate on the issue. It is our expectation that our recommendations will lead to a reform of the practice.

Members of the IEA-WTA Advisory Committee at a press conference
Members of the IEA-WTA Advisory Committee at a press conference

 

  • Review of Ghana’s Electoral System

In line with our commitment to consolidate multiparty democracy and promote acceptable elections, The IEA in 2013 initiated the process of reforming Ghana’s electoral system. To date, The IEA has produced extensive research detailing over twenty proposals for electoral reform. Notable among these proposals include the need to amend section 46 of Act 284, Representation of Peoples Act which requires the written consent of the Attorney-General before election-related crimes could be prosecuted, to allow the Police to carry out prosecution of all electoral offences. Our research and persistent advocacy has encouraged public awareness and discourse on the issue. It is our expectation that our proposals would inform the review of our electoral system.

Mrs. Jean Mensa, Executive Director of IEA, presenting proposals for electoral reforms to Mr. Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, member of the Electoral Commission in Nov 2013
Mrs. Jean Mensa, Executive Director of IEA, presenting proposals for electoral reforms to Mr. Ebenezer Aggrey-Fynn, member of the Electoral Commission in Nov 2013

 

 III. Economics

 The IEA continues to undertake studies on wide-ranging areas that respond to the dynamics of the economy.

  • Macroeconomic Stability and Debt Sustainability

Over the past few years, macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability have constituted key components of IEA research, given their importance for sustained growth. Among others, The IEA’s research has focused on Monetary Policy and Inflation Dynamics, the Macroeconomic Implications of High Fiscal Deficits, Exchange Rate Policy and Dynamics, Debt Profile and Sustainability, and Budget Preparation, Implementation and Oversight. Based on the results of its research, The IEA continues to call for further strengthening of inflation management, strengthening of budget controls and oversight to reduce budgetary overruns, entrenchment of fiscal discipline, including through passage of a Fiscal Responsibility Law, and ensuring transformation of the economy to underpin exchange rate stability.

 

  • Financial Intermediation

Our research and advocacy have drawn attention to the low financial intermediation and the high cost of credit in Ghana, which have adversely affected investment and economic growth.  In a recent research paper in this area we recommended better regulation of the financial sector, a call that led to the Governor of the Central Bank, at the instance of the late President Mills, instituting guidelines for setting the banks’ base lending rates. Subsequently in 2014, The IEA also called for measures to deepen financial intermediation and to make credit affordable to the private sector and SMEs in particular, recommendations that were well received, especially among the business community.

 

  • Oil and Gas Sector

With the advent of oil and gas in Ghana, we undertook significant research and advocacy so as to promote good governance in the sector through transparent, accountable and efficient management of revenues. Our research in this area concentrated on developing and applying an index for tracking transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector. This index, the Petroleum Transparency and Accountability (P-TRAC) Index, has been applied to Ghana. Our recommendations include the following:

  1. Bills Proposed

 

      • The Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill – Passed
      • Right to Information Bill – Pending
      • The Local Content and Local Participation Bill – Passed
      • The Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill – Pending

 

2. The Auditor General should publish audited reports of Ghana Petroleum Funds – Implemented.

 

3. Relevant Parliamentary Committees and the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) should be resourced to enable them carry out their mandates effectively – Not Implemented.

 

  •  Other Natural Resources

The IEA has led sustained advocacy to ensure fair taxation of the mining sector in the light of the sector’s limited contribution to government revenue. This advocacy culminated in The Institute’s drafting of a paper on Windfall Profit Tax in 2011 for consideration by government and key stakeholders. The then Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, mentioned these recommendations in his budget statement to Parliament. Unfortunately, these recommendations have not been implemented.

 

  • Economic Transformation and Self-sufficiency

Recognizing the importance of transforming the Ghanaian economy so as to achieve self-sufficiency as a means to sustaining Ghana’s development and poverty alleviation, The IEA focused its research on issues relating to mitigating the adverse effects of economic liberalization, reducing aid dependency by exploring alternative resources, transforming the Ghanaian economy from its “colonial structure,” and improving Ghana’s socio-economic conditions commensurate with its new middle- income status. These studies have helped influence the thinking of politicians and policymakers on the need to diversify the colonial primary raw material-based economy to a more industrialized and competitive one.

 

  •  Contribution to the Work of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana and the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) of the Oil and Gas Sector

In the last two years, The IEA has had the unique privilege of being represented on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) of the Oil and Gas Sector. The IEA has used its membership of these Committees to espouse and advocate for policies in oil and gas governance and general economic management backed by The Institute’s research work.