Government vows to address NGOs’ concern on registration

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Officials say Local Level Operation Act would be amended with a stipulation requiring NGOs to list themselves with local governments in lieu of registration

Nov 29, 2018-The government is working to find a middle ground for non-government organisations who are under pressure to register themselves with the local governments after the country adopted federal model.

Conventionally, NGOs are registered at the district administration offices under the Organisation Registration Act. But the Local Level Operation Act has a stipulation that requires organisations, consumer committees and cooperatives to coordinate with the concerned local authorities, which includes registering the organisation with the concerned local government.

Invoking the Local Level Operation Act, the local governments are reportedly exerting pressure on NGOs to get their offices registered—a demand that NGOs say is impractical, for it requires one organisation to get registered with several local units.

With both the NGO sector and the local governments firm on their positions, the federal government is planning to amend the Local Level Operation Act so that both sides are satisfied.

“We are preparing to introduce a provision where the NGOs will have to be listed at local units instead of getting registered at the local levels,” said an official, involved in the amendment process.

The central government has formed a task force headed by Roop Narayan Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration to prepare a draft of the amendment bill.

As different practical issues hindered the works of the local governments, the federal government formed the task force to recommend the amendments.

The official, on condition of anonymity, told the Post that the amendment would,

however, have a provision that the NGOs need to align their programmes with the

priorities of the local governments and they should also notify the local governments about their programmes. NGOs say that they would have no problem accepting

the provision of listing the NGOs with the local government authorities.

“For the NGO operating in several districts, it is difficult to register with each local unit,” said Gopal Lamsal, president of NGO Federation of Nepal.

However, the local governments say that listing at local units would not be enough.  “We prefer their registration with local governments and there should also be the provision that the NGOs should take approval from the local governments to operate any programme so that duplication of the programme could be avoided,” said Krishna Prasad Paudel, mayor of Jeetpur Simara Sub-Metropolitan City.

NGOs complain that the local governments have been coercing them to either to

register with local units to have any chance to start or continue their operation there.  They also claim that some local government leaderships have also been pressing them to run their activities at the areas where they have certain vested political interest.

“Some local units have also asked the NGOs to combine the resources with that of local governments to implement the local government’s programmes,” said Lamsal.  

As per the clause 25 of the Local Level Operation Act, the NGOs should assimilate their annual plans, programmes and budget with that of the local governments. The

NGOs have reservation on this provision.

“NGOs are not the branches of the governments. Resources of NGOs cannot be the part of government’s resources because of different budgetary process and different working styles between the government agencies and the NGOs,” Lamsal said.

There are around 50,000 NGOs affiliated with the Social Welfare Council, a government body responsible for the promotion, facilitation, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of non-governmental social organizations. Last fiscal year, they committed to investing Rs20 billion in different programmes, according to the council.

Published: 29-11-2018 08:08

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