NGOs are not regulated but controlled – Kondowe

Civil Society for Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedicto Kondowe says Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Malawi are being controlled by government instead of being regulated.

Kondowe said this during press briefing which his organization conducted at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

He said NGOs are not worried about being regulated because it is for the goodness of the NGOs and it makes them to be more accountable to the citizens just the same they want the government to be accountable, but they are not happy with government’s tendency of controlling them.

He added that government came up with 2018 NGO Act Amendment Bill which says that NGOs should pay to NGO body fee ranging from K250,000 per year to K1 million per year without considering that NGOs are nonprofit organisations which rely on donor funding and that no donor can agree to pay the annual fee.

He went on say that there is also another provision which states that if a project comes to an end and through that project a NGO bought vehicles and other equipment such as computers or anything else, those assets should be given back to government or councils at the end of the project.

“What this provision entails is that it transforms NGOs into perpetual beggars because you will note that most of the NGOs might have single vehicles bought by one donor but that particular is serving so many other projects which means that if government takes away that vehicle then what will remain for the NGOs.

“What we are opposing is the manner in which government would want to regulate, you cannot use the law to regulate the NGO with a view to control them that is where we have very serious problems with the issue of regulations, but if the regulation is aimed at harnessing the accountability we have no problem because we generate funding on behalf of Malawian people and we need to be accountable,” he said.

Kondowe then called on the government to suspend the NGO Act amendment bill which is expected to be tabled in Parliament.