Move to streamline NGOs under single monitoring body

The government will bring the country’s registered, non-registered NGOs and other volunteer organisations under one authority to monitor them and prevent their illegal operations, including patronisation of militancy.

A single high-powered authority comprised of representatives from the social welfare ministry, foreign ministry, home ministry, Bangladesh Bank, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms and the NGO Bureau will be formed for this purpose.

A proposal will be soon prepared and placed before the cabinet for its consideration, sources in the social welfare ministry said.

Meanwhile, the social welfare ministry asked elected representatives to keep watch over non-government organisations (NGOs) and the volunteer organisations in their respective areas.

“They have been requested to visit madrasas, orphanages and other welfare bodies in their respective areas to learn more about how they function,” said Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid at his Bangladesh Secretariat office yesterday.

A month ago, the ministry wrote to all lawmakers and chairmen of upazila parishads across the country in a bid to increase supervision over the activities of the organisations. It will act as a deterrent to illegal activities.

The organisations would get monetary allocations based on their evaluation report, which will be sent to the ministry before the next budget.

Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid firmly believes that militancy funding can be stopped just by bringing all the organisations under the same authority and by proper monitoring.

There are 55,000 NGOs and volunteer organisations registered under the ministry, most of which are small. Such registered organisations, under various authorities, add up to about 1.5 lakh, sources in the ministry said.

They said it is not the small organisations that are flouting rules and getting involved in illegal activities. A few larger ones are doing it even though they are supposed to do only welfare or voluntary work.

“They bring money on humanitarian grounds and instead of using it for welfare they are doing business with it by setting up income-oriented institutions in the country,” alleged a senior official of the ministry.

The minister said the registration process must be streamlined. “Six to seven bodies are now registering organisations, which is greatly hampering their monitoring,” he said, adding that all of them must submit reports on their activities and expenditure regularly.

Source: The Daily Star, 03 April 2009


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