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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Sri Lanka: An Act to monitor NGO sector is on the final stage.

Image courtesy of medium.com.

According to Director General of the Secretariat for Sanjeewa Wimalagunarathna “the final draft of the new law titled ‘Non-governmental Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Bill is now ready.”

It has now been circulated among the NGOs and individual activists for their views before being presented to the Cabinet for approval. They have been given a period of three weeks for submission of their views, if any, to be incorporated in the bill before enactment.

Once enacted, the bill would provide for compulsory registration of the NGOs for operation. Currently, not all NGOs are  not registered with the Secretariat. Many leading NGOs have protested against enforcing compulsory registration.

“Last year, the NGOs registered with the Secretariat received as much as Rs.33 billion in foreign funding for their projects in the country. However, there are many unregistered NGOs operating in the country. Altogether, we believe as much as Rs.100 billion is received in funding annually. It means a large amount of NGO funds is spent without any monitoring by the government,”  Sanjeewa Wimalagunarathna has told Daily Mirror.

“Although some  NGOs raising concerns and asking for another three months to submit their proposals, we cannot grant any further time” he has further told.

According to him the need to enact such a law need to contain money laundering and terrorist financing in the guise of NGO activities.

“It is a requirement stipulated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have laws to deal with money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, we have to enact this bill. It will be done in two months’ time,” he said.

At the moment, there are 1,786 registered NGOs operating at national level, 1,636 at district levels and 38,524 at divisional levels.

With the inputs from an article published in the Daily Mirror.

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