Thursday, July 18, 2024

550 foreign-funded NGOs lose registration

Dhaka: NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB), the regulatory body for foreign-funded NGOs, has cancelled registrations of 550 donor-funded NGOs, in the past nine months, while 67 of the organisations have applied for reinstatement of their registrations, sources at the NGOAB said. NGOAB has cancelled the registrations of the NGOs, as they were found to have been involved in corrupt practices like misuse of foreign funds and patronising militant activities across the country. Most of the NGOs were also running their projects without renewing their licenses, said a senior official of the bureau.
Although the NGOs claimed to be working in fields of social welfare, charity and volunteer activities, they were found to be involved in creating unrest in the ready-made garments sector of the country.
Khurshid Alam, deputy director (audit and inspection) of NGOAB, said, “The number of cancelled registrations rose, from 21, to 550, in nine months, and the last cancellation was on December 2010.”
According to the bureau, 124 NGOs’ registrations were cancelled in April, 98 in May, 94 in June, 93 in July, 42 in August, 32 in October and 47 in December last year, for the violation of the rules and laws to run foreign-funded projects in the country.
Most of the cancelled NGOs were charged with embezzlement of foreign funds and violation of The Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Ordinance, 1978.
According to the ordinance, the penalty for false declaration – if any person or
organisation submits any false or contravened any provision of this ordinance, the bureau would cancel the registration of such persons or organisations, or stop any voluntary activity undertaken by such persons or organisations.
The ordinance defines “voluntary activity” as an activity that is undertaken partially or entirely with external assistance by any person or organisation of his or its own free will to render agricultural, relief, missionary, educational, cultural, vocational, social welfare and developmental services.
The cancelled NGOs include – Bangladesh Center for Worker’s Solidarity (BCWS), Center for development Initiative (CDI), Salvation Mission, Social Organisation for Voluntary Activities, Social Enhancement Association, Peace and Human Rights Council, Organisation for Rural Development, German Islamic Relief Organisation, Hillary Foundation Bangladesh, North South University Foundation, Ophthalmological Society of Bangladesh, United Development Foundation, Voluntary Rural Development Agency (VRDS) and Institute for Development Education and Action.
Between 2002 and 2009, the bureau had cancelled registrations of only 20 NGOs.
A director of the bureau said that manpower shortage, lack of accountability of the bureau’s field administration, and an unholy nexus between unscrupulous officials and NGO executives are the major reasons for such misappropriation of funds.
NGO insiders, however, feared the move to may reduce foreign funds in the country, which follow an increasing trend since the 1980’s.
NGOAB sources said the bureau has released about Tk. 361 crore, as foreign funds, to implement 16835 projects in 2009-2010 fiscal year, while the amount comes down to about Tk. 297 crore to implement about 17,500 projects in 2010-2011 fiscal year.

 

Courtesy of The Independent

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