Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, has disclosed that his ministry is seeking ways of collecting more money from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to help drive the agenda of the government to develop the country and improve service delivery for the benefit of the citizens.
His sentiments come amid revelations that government is not tapping enough from the MK1 trillion that NGOs in the country are raising every year.
Mwanamvekha said this after the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA) asked for the inclusion of MK500 million in the 2019/2020 national budget for the implementation of the NGO Policy.
CONGOMA Executive Director, Ronald Mtonga, says the money should be made available in every year’s fiscal plan with possible upward adjustments.
However, the minister is not decisive on whether his ministry would consider CONGOMA’s request, only saying that government would release the half million kwacha depending on what the NGOs want to do with that money.
“NGOs get alot of money from their donors. As government, we are now interested in how they are using this money for the benefit of Malawians. We will soon be discussing with these NGOs to see how best government can get value for money from the NGO sector and how this can benefit citizens,” said Mwanamvekha.
But according to Mtonga, once government releases funds to implement the NGO Policy which was launched early this year, the NGOs will begin to self regulate and account for their resources.
He said the policy empowers CONGOMA and the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Board of Malawi, who are authorities managing NGOs in the country, to coordinate and regulate NGOs so that their resources are aligned to national plans and that there is no dublication of activities between government and NGOs and amongst the NGOs themselves.
Apparently, CONGOMA and the NGO Board will implement the policy in collaboration with other NGO networks and will be supervised by Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
“So, once the policy is implemented, NGOs will become accountable and well regulated even in terms of where they work because that also has a bearing on the national budget. NGOs can raise about MK1 trillion per annum and our national budget is almost the same. This means if NGOs are well managed and happy in their own sector, government can actually plan to forgo a trillion kwacha in service delivery and focus on other things.
“We want government to tap on the resources in the NGO sector by making the NGOs more coordinated and more regulated without necessarily controlling them because they need freedom. The NGO sector is a sector of freedoms. They need freedom and that can only come when there are guidelines in terms of a policy which can guide on how to make NGOs develop and grow to produce the desired results,” said Mtonga.
He also said activities for the implementation of the policy will lead to the identification of more issues on the ground that need to be included in the subsequent reviews of the policy for an even more vibrant NGO sector.
Mtonga added that, by releasing the MK500 million for the implementation of the policy, government is actually making a contribution that assures it of full ownership of the document while CONGOMA and other NGOs just want to make their financial contribution as well in ensuring that the policy is executed successfully.
It is the first time for Malawi to have an NGO Policy since the NGO Act was enacted in 2001 and that scenario made it difficult for the act to be implemented over the years without policy guidelines.
Once the policy is finally operational, it is also expected that NGOs and District Councils will sign Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) over projects so that they are implemented accordingly and reviewed periodically by District Executive Committees.
NGOs will also be required to work in partnership to reduce competition amongst themselves, thereby, maximizing impact of their presence and projects in communities.
Communities will be empowered to hold duty bearers and NGOs accountable.
According to Mtonga, the policy will also improve the capacity of NGOs in implementing projects and also promote partnerships between NGOs and government departments.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :