A prominent Chancellor College-based political analyst, Boniface Dulani has backed calls by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) board for the local NGOs to be accountable and transparent to the citizenry.
Recentry, the board demanded that all NGOs should be submitting their annual report annually to the general public as required by the law so that the people they serve should appreciate their impacts on different project being carried in the society other than be answerable to the donors only.
“There is need for and indicative watchdog to provide checks and balances and from a purely governance issue,” Dulani said.
NGO Board Chairperson Abigail Dzimadzi said so far, only 5 percent of the NGOs submit their annual reviews through the board.
“If the NGOs were not submitting their financial and progress reports in the past then we want that trend to end. It’s high time that they should be accountable to the people they serve by following the NGO Act,”she said.
Dzimadzi added that the new board has taken “accountability” among the NGOs because, “Malawi needs accountability, Its people need accountability, us players in development need accountability. We believe that after 50 years of independence for our public indicators to still be as low with all the donor inflow that we enjoy, this is a key which if employed by NGOs we will truly contribute to our trajectory of development.”
She added, “So how did we go about it? We first established a baseline. The NGO Act 2001 – Section 22, requires NGOs to file Financial and activity information to NGO Board. The observation indicated that NGOs were not forthcoming in responding to the request to submit returns to the NGO Board of Malawi as required by the NGO Act 2001, Section 22.
“The year ended 30th June, 2015 only 8 percent complied and this year ended 30th June 2016 only 5 percent complied which means that 25 out of 475 NGOs complied.”
By not complying with this section, Dzimadzi said citizens of Malawi as target beneficiaries of the NGO operations are being denied the right to know what NGOs hold for them.
“Citizens ought to enjoy their right to access information concerning NGO operations especially since the resources are mobilised on their behalf. By law the information is accessed at public documentation center hosted by NGO Board of Malawi,” she said.
The NGO Board of Malawi is a Statutory Body established by the section 6 of Non-Governmental Organizations Act (Cap 5:05 of Laws of Malawi) to register and regulate the operations of all NGOs in Malawi. The NGO Act was passed in Parliament and assented by the 27th January, 2001.
All NGOs activities in Malawi are currently coordinated through the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
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