Legislators have agreed on the need to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) but said government should not make stringent laws curbing their operations.
Debating the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, 2015, MPs said NGOs collect funds from foreign donors but have little or nothing to show for their activities in the areas they claim to operate in.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Aronda Nyakairima, said there was need to streamline the regulation of NGOs having noted that the “rapid growth of NGOs has led to subversive methods of work and activities, which in turn undermine accountability and transparency in the sector.”
Hon. Nyakairima also said NGOs needed to be both accountable and transparent considering that they demand the same from government.
The Minister said the current NGO Board has not been able to sufficiently register, regulate, coordinate and monitor the activities of NGOs hence the need to make provisions for a single legal regime of registration, issuing permits and Certificates of Incorporation.
The Chairperson of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, Hon. Benny Namugwanya, who presented her Committee’s Report on the Bill said the number of NGOs in the country increased from less than 200 in 1986 to about 11,500 by the end of 2013.
Hon. Medard Bitekyerezo (NRM, Mbarara Municipality) said although some NGOs are doing commendable work especially in the health sector, there are some ‘briefcase NGOs’ that write concepts and get funds from foreign donors, without doing any work on the ground.
He also said that some NGOs are operating in fields they have not registered to work in.
The NGO Bill intends to promote and require organisations to maintain high standards of governance, transparency and accountability; promote and strengthen the capacity of the organisations sector that is sustainable and able to deliver services professionally; and to promote and develop a charity culture that is voluntary, non-partisan and relevant to the needs and aspirations of the people of Uganda.