Malawi NGOs told to register by June 30 or else

Unregistered Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have until June 30, 2013 to get registered with NGO board or else face the law.

The  Chairperson of the NGO board, Emily Banda said this at the sensitization of Blantyre district council District Executive Committee (DEC) on the NGO Law on Monday.

She pointed out that the board works in the interest of government and the NGO fraternity since NGOs compliment government efforts.

“NGOs should get registered with us so that we move together, we don’t want any casualties,” Banda said.

NGO Board chair: Emiy Banda
NGO Board chair: Emiy Banda

The Chairperson of Operations and Compliance at the board, Kent Mphepo told the DEC that there is a lot of indiscipline within the NGO sector which needs to be dealt with.

He cited an example of Chitipa which has 87 NGOs in the records, but only two are operating on the ground.

“This is one reason we are conducting sensitization meetings in all districts to tell the DEC what the Act says so that if an NGO misbehaves, the board will act accordingly and there shall be no excuses,” Mphepo said.

He pointed out that many NGOs are just members of Council for Non Governmental Organizations (CONGOMA) and not registered with the NGO board.

According to Mphepo, since the board started its sensitization campaigns, 260 NGOs have registered and many applications are coming daily.

However, Director of Planning and Development at Blantyre District Council, Precious Kantsitsi questioned why the officials were conducting sensitization meetings in 2013 yet the NGO Act was enacted in 2001.

“Much as I’m aware that the current office bearers are new, I’m criticizing the board system. I think this would have been better if the council officers were briefed long time ago because we have been having problems with some NGOs,” he said.

In response, Banda acknowledged that the awareness was long overdue and that this was supposed to be done long time ago saying all NGOs were provided with NGO Act upon their registration at CONGOMA which is the first step to registration hoping that they would comply, a thing which has been proved otherwise.

“We discovered that NGOs took advantage of lack of awareness or communication between the board and district councils and did things their way,” she said.

To register, an NGO is supposed to fill a form (collected from NGO board offices in Area 14 in Lilongwe), provide certified copy of the constitution of their organization, provide affidavits or statutory declaration of Board of Trustees/directors (at least two of which should be Malawians and resident in Malawi, should declare sources of funding, and provide proof that they are members of CONGOMA among others.

A registration fee is K35, 000 and K120, 000 for local NGO and International NGOs respectively. An annual subscription fee is K35, 000 for local and K105, 000 for international NGOs.

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