Group wants INGOs denied funds meant for Nepal

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
NGO Federation says global organisations spend much of the funds on administrative purposes

Dec 2, 2018-

NGO Federation of Nepal, a group of local non-government organisations, has demanded that international NGOs operating in Nepal should have no access to funds from UN and donor agencies having their offices in the country.

Making public its formal recommendation to the government during its ninth general convention that kicked off in Kathmandu on Friday, the federation argued that the huge chunk of money meant for Nepal was being spent by the INGOs for administrative purposes.

Gopal Lamsal, president of the federation, said local NGOs want an end to the practice of INGOs getting funds earmarked for Nepal because it leads to high administrative costs mainly due to the high salary of INGO workers. “When huge sums are spent on administrative purposes, there remains little money to spend on actual programmes,” he said.

They claimed that donor agencies, especially bilateral donors, favour INGOs registered in their own countries when it comes to running their projects in Nepal.

At the conference of the NGO Federation, representatives of various organisations voiced concerns over donors preferring INGOs to local NGOs. Padam Kumar Dulal, president of the Kavre branch of NGO Federation, said: “We want a provision for donors to fund NGOs of a particular district if the programme should be implemented there,” he told the Post.

Finance Ministry data also show that INGOs receive huge funds from donors having their offices in Nepal. According to the Development Cooperation Report 2016-17 published by the ministry, donors provided $147.45 million to INGOs in the fiscal year 2016-17 against the total disbursement of $1.39 billion by donors that year.

The European Union, Japan, Department for International Development (DFID), USAID, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Australia, World Food Programme, Norway, German aid agency GIZ, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) are among the donor agencies having offices in Nepal which provided funds to INGOs to implement various programmes in Nepal in the fiscal year 2016-17.

However, INGOs have a different take on the issue. Shibesh Chandra Regmi, chairperson of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN), said donor agencies treat both local and international NGOs as part of the civil society and they don’t discriminate if the amount meant for Nepal has to be mobilised through the civil society.

“Donor agencies seek certain standard for financial management and reporting system from the civil society to award funds. If local NGOs can show strength in these aspects, they can receive fund from donor agencies directly. Some local NGOs have outsmarted INGOs in the bidding process,” said Regmi.

 

On high INGO staff costs, Regmi said it should not be an issue since INGOs have brought huge amounts into the country. This has been a matter of discussion as the government is preparing a new Development Cooperation Policy.

A senior official at the Finance Ministry said the government’s position is that all foreign aid earmarked for Nepal should come through government agencies.

“If any donor has allocated funds for Nepal to run programmes through the non-government sector, transparency of such funds should be maintained,” he said. Details of such amount should be submitted to the Aid Management Platform, the software prepared to document foreign aid to ensure transparency, according to him.

“The programme where such amount is used should be aligned with the government’s priorities and such amount should be either part of the local government budget or it should be spent in proper coordination with elected local governments,” he said.

 

Published: 02-12-2018 06:54

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