The Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) Board of Malawi has announced that it will stop issuing annual operating licenses to NGOs that are not complying with a section of the NGO Act which compels them to submit their annual returns, audit and technical reports to the board.
NGO Board Chief Executive Officer, Voice Mhone, has said this amid revelations that out of 671 NGOs in the country only 184 submitted their reports in the period covering June 2017 to June 2018.
Mhone spoke during the just ended 2019 International NGO Accountability Conference held in Mangochi.
The NGO Act compels NGOs to submit their reports to the NGO Board in order to ensure that the NGOs are accountable to government, citizens and development partners through the board.
“From January 2020, we will stop issuing annual operating licenses to NGOs that are not complying with the law.
“We have been prompted to come up with this decision because the percentage of non compliance is huge. We want to ensure that NGOs that are not submitting their reports find it difficult to operate,” said Mhone.
Mhone added that NGOs that fail to appear on the list of complying organisations are actually destroying themselves because the donor community and development partners perceive them as being not trustworthy and not transparent and accountable.
“The listed NGOs show that they are accountable to Malawians. Donors and development partners want to work with only those organisations that are accountable.
“Chances are that those that do not appear on our list are abusing the money they are handling in the name of Malawians. This should not be entertained,” he said.
During the 2019 International NGO Accountability Conference, the NGO Board of Malawi also launched what it describes as a corporate strategy.
According to Mhone, the strategy, which is drawn from the priority areas of the NGO Policy, will guide the operations of the NGO Board in the next five years so that the board is well focused and well understood within the framework of the corporate strategy.
He said the strategy brings out the vision and mission of the NGO Board clearly so that it works towards fulfilling the expectations of the stakeholders it is serving.
“We want to maximize the benefits of NGO work to Malawians. NGOs collectively handle about MK1.2 trillion annually but there is little impact of what they are doing.
“We want to see that the resources in the NGO sector are really benefitting Malawians more than anyone else. We want to contribute to sustainable development in Malawi through proper regulation of the NGO sector,” Mhone said.
He also said the corporate strategy will help the NGO Board to improve the working relationship between local and international NGOs by removing animosity and competition amongst them so that their interventions are effective.
According to Mhone, the strategy will also help the NGO Board to improve the working relationship between district councils and NGOs and also ensure that NGOs projects reflect the voice of the beneficiaries they serve.