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11.09.2004 Politics

Forum suggests other sources of funding political parties

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Wa, Sept 11, GNA - Participants at a forum on financing of political parties in Ghana held at Wa on Friday, have proposed the establishment of a Common Fund to which contributions from government and other sources could be paid for the funding of political parties. Money accruing to this fund, they suggested, could be raised through the institution of a raffle or a lottery, widening of the tax net and levies from contractors undertaking government projects. Such a fund, if set up, should be managed by either the Electoral Commission on separate entity to be set up with the approval of all registered political parties, they said.

The forum is among a series being organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Civil Society Coalition on political party financing, with support from the National Democratic Institute of Washington DC in the United States.

The participants included representatives of political parties in the Upper West Region, Trade Unions, Religious Groups, Youth and Women's Groups, the Media and other relevant stakeholders.

While the participants approved the state funding of political parties, they were also of the view that stringent guidelines for such funding be drawn to pre-empt the mushrooming of political parties who would want to take advantage of state funding.

Some contributors at the forum suggested that smaller parties should be encouraged to merge in order to qualify as beneficiaries of the fund.

Mr Suhunun Mogtari, Upper West Regional Minister noted that, though democracy was a very costly venture, it held the key to development since a vibrant multi-party system provided opportunities and programmes for people to choose the type of development they wanted.

In debating the issue of political party financing, Mr Mogtari urged the participants to consider the variables for state support, the type of support, sustainability of support and the possibility of donor support through the states.

Mr Franklin Oduro, Head of Programme of CDD said political parties were key governance institutions which must be given resources to enable them grow.

He said because of inadequate funding, many of the political parties were unable to reach out to the wider public with their messages.