Malawi government’s decision to raise Non-Governmental Organisation’s (NGO) annual fees by close to 1900 percent continues to spark debate among the citizenry.
With effect from 1st January, NGOs with annual income below K100 million will be paying K100 000; those with income capacity within the range of K100 million to K500 million will be paying K250 000; those with earnings above K500 million and below K2 billion will be paying K1 million while NGOs with annual income above K2 billion, will be paying a K2 million.
The government has raised the fees from K50,000, representing varying percentages given the different categories. This has led to conflicting public views on the issue with some opposing while others supporting the move.
In a vox pop recently conducted by Malawi24 in Blantyre and Zomba, the majority supported the hike. Most people believe, the hike is justified because organisations spend hefty sums of money on employees and not the communities they claim to serve.
Martin Mijiga from Blantyre said: “I do not see anything wrong with the hike, if an organisation can manage to pay its employees millions per month, will it be an issue paying a million per year?”
Elizabeth Mbekeyani also from Blantyre said: “This should have been implemented long ago because these NGOs have benefited a lot financially at the expense of Malawians so it’s payback time.”
While Ziko Kamoto from Zomba said: “It did not make sense for an organisation that can pay its employees as much as K3 million with other luxuries, to be paying K50,000 a year that was unrealistic.”
However Wezzi Ngalonde from Zomba had different thoughts which favour the concerned NGOs.
She suspected that the hike is just one way the government wants to use to silence NGOs adding that the fees is too high.
As the debates continue in the public domain, some have NGOs stuck to the belief that the government is trying to kill the civil society space.