It looks like the Deputy Minister of Finance, Development and Economic Planning Dr. Richard Conteh is becoming suspicious of some of the deals of Non Governmental Organization (NGO) who are fond of importing private vehicles and other goods on tax waiver or duty free concession.
Talking on the new draft NGO policy at the start of a two day international conference sponsored by World Movement for Democracy in collaboration with the Society for Democratic Initiatives , the Minister stated that the new NGO policy requires every NGO to register with his Ministry so as to benefit from certain opportunities like tax waiver but warned that NGOs should not abuse or take advantage of such an opportunity.
He however pointed out that they have written an official letter to the Inspector General of Police to arrest any NGO vehicle without a logo.
He said the new policy is not extraordinary (or) to stifle the operations of NGOs in the country but noted that government has responsibility to monitor their operations as most Aid they get are on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone.
He added that the people or beneficiaries in the various areas of operations have responsibility to help government monitor the activities of NGOs as they constitute the direct beneficiaries of any donor aid to the country.
As part of the decentralization drive he noted NGOs are at liberty to establish offices in their areas of operations but only come to Freetown to regularize their document or registration and to also submit their quarterly or annual report to the Ministry.
He said there were a lot of inconsistencies in the old NGO document that was creating problems for government but the new document seeks to standardize everything in the best interest of the country.
He was reputed to have said that the only hard aspect of the new NGO policy is the huge involvement of money to register with his ministry but on a whole he said the new policy is much more better than the old NGO policy.
The Minister maintained that, the new policy is NGO owned as it was put together by SLANGO the umbrella organization of all NGOs in Sierra Leone, adding that the policy review committee constitutes five members with only one from his Ministry.
The Chairperson of the occasion, Hannah Foster said the main thrust of the conference was to share experiences and ideas and to also identify some of the challenges with the view of strategizing a working plan that would be adopted by the various participating countries.
By Solomon Rogers