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Social welfare adviser says around 4,500 NGOs sitting idle in Sindh

Social welfare adviser says around 4,500 NGOs sitting idle in Sindh

KARACHI: Announcing that there was a ban on the registration of new non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Sindh social welfare department on Tuesday said more than half of the registered NGOs were sitting idle for years and a significant number of them had been ‘de-listed’ by the government.

“There is a ban on the registration of new NGOs in Sindh,” said Shamim Mumtaz, adviser to the chief minister on social welfare.

She told Dawn that the ban had been imposed by the government on the recommendation of the Apex Committee to make necessary arrangement to ensure that all things involving the security of the country were made foolproof before allowing new organisations to begin working.

“With this ban in place,” said Ms Mumtaz, “we are meticulously engaged in sorting out the details of the NGOs which are already registered for years.”

She said as the department began searching records, it found out that out of over 8,000 registered NGOs, at least 4,500 were not working at all in the field.

People advised to be vigilant while donating to any individual or organisation

“As we rummaged around, we found a good number of such organisations which have been given by the actual managements to others with no information to and permission from us,” she said.

She said a number of those organisations “have been de-listed” for being idle for years and failing to update their records.

For the remaining ones, she said, her ministry had received requests from the managements with the assurance that they would file their records and make those organisations active.

Ms Mumtaz said after lifting of the ban on the registration of new NGOs, each management would be required to furnish a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the provincial home department, which was not needed in the previous arrangement.

She said the new policy was formulated in the light of the Apex Committee’s guidelines to impede every possibility of terrorism and terror financing.

Earlier, she said, a number of organisations were working without audit of records and without showing the sources of their funding.

The new policy would require every NGO to renew its registration on a yearly basis.

The international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) would need a NOC from the social welfare department before beginning work in any district of Sindh with details about the local NGOs partnering with them.

Besides, she said, “any INGO working in a particular district or districts would require hiring at least 50 per cent of its employees from the local population”.

She said she took notice of complaints vis-à-vis collection of donations in Mehran Town and other parts of Karachi by certain individuals and groups who were showing them as working for certain NGOs.

“I have directed the social welfare secretary to take strict action against such elements and fake NGOs who are defrauding people across Sindh,” she said, adding that police and district administrations across Sindh were being engaged for action against those individuals and groups.

She said fake NGOs and individuals had started collecting donations in the name of charity ahead of Ramazan, “which is illegal”.

She said certain individuals were apprehended by the police who were asking for donations at weekly bazaars. They included some members of a registered NGO as well, “who are not allowed to be engaged in such activities”.

“No individual or unregistered organisations have permission to collect any type of donation,” she added.

She appealed to citizens that before donating money, they should confirm whether these organisations or institutions were recognised and registered with the government. “Miscreants and outlawed organisations may use these donations for their nefarious designs and people should be extremely careful and vigilant while making donations.”

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2018

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