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Ghana parliament reconvenes, approves World Bank loan and appointees

GHANA’S parliament, which had been adjourned since March following a dispute between the speaker and the president over an anti-LGBT bill, reconvened and approved ministerial appointees and a World Bank loan.

Majority leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin said in a statement that the urgent recall was “in good faith to enable the government to discharge its constitutional and democratic obligations to the people.”

Lawmakers in February unanimously passed one of Africa’s most restrictive anti-LGBT bills, but President Nana Akufo-Addo has not yet signed it into law. His office said it would wait for the outcome of two legal challenges to the bill before it passes to the president for assent.

The delay sparked a backlash from supporters of the bill and has hobbled parliamentary procedures in Ghana, including the approval of ministerial nominations following a government reshuffle in February.

Speaker Alban Bagbin, who adjourned parliament in March, said the president’s refusal to sign the bill was unconstitutional.

Parliament on Friday approved a $150 million loan agreement between the government and the World Bank’s International Development Association to improve Accra’s economic resilience. The loan was approved by a majority vote while a bid for tax exemptions for businesses was abandoned.

Also approved were 21 nominees to ministerial and deputy ministerial posts, including two for the finance ministry. Minority MPs boycotted the vote in protest against the size of the government.

The president’s decision to hold off on signing the anti-LGBT bill came after a finance ministry warning that it could jeopardise $3.8 million in World Bank financing and derail a $3-billion International Monetary Fund loan package.

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The Supreme Court asked lawyers battling over the legality of the anti-LGBT bill to amend their motions due to insulting language in their submissions and then postponed the case without setting a new date.

By The African Mirror