NGOs are Shying Away From Being Regulated

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…Minister of Economic Planning and Development avers

February 28, 2019

By Joseph S. Margai

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Minister of Economic Planning and Development: Mrs. Nabeela Tunis

Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Mrs. Nabeela Tunis, has stated that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in Sierra Leone were shying away from being regulated by government.

On Tuesday, some International and local Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs, NGOs) met at the Young Sportsmen Club (YSC) hall in Freetown where they expressed their dissatisfaction over governments recently approved Development Cooperation Framework (DCF) and policy that would regulate their activities.

Speaking in an interview at her Tower Hill office in Freetown, Minister Tunis stated that government through her ministry has developed a development cooperation framework, which aims to enhance transparency and accountability between government and NGOs.

According to her, there are over 300 NGOs registered with her ministry, servicing over seven million population in Sierra Leone, but stated that some were doing things contrary to what was expected of them.

“As a responsible and responsive government, we want to ensure that when these NGOs solicit funds on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone, at least 70 percent of those funds must be spent on the people. They should also align their programs to our national development plan, so that they would not duplicate efforts,” she said.

She charged that some of the NGOs lack structure, adding that government has instructed them to employ managers, administrative officers, and finance officers, among others.

Minister Tunis said some of the NGOs do solicit like US$50,000 funding from donors, but only have two staff, with an expatriate who receives the bulk sum of the money, thereby depriving qualified Sierra Leoneans from getting employment.

“We have put a system in place for NGOs’ operation. We have decided to waive the fees they pay to Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (SLANGO). We have also dropped the fees for re-registration, took off all attestation fees, reduced the processes for registration and reduced registration fees to local councils at Le50, 000 only,” she disclosed.

She said government’s aim was not to drive them away but to have a very strong collaboration so as to develop the country.

 “Our aim is to ensure that NGOs provide services to underserved communities and in doing that they should collaborate with us,” she said.