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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Economic Affairs, while expressing its inability to supervise and monitor NGOs/INGOs, has moved a summary to the federal cabinet seeking relieve from the role. This was revealed before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, which met under the chairmanship of Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, here on Thursday.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan briefed the committee regarding the Non-Governmental Organizations / International Non-Governmental Organisations working in Pakistan, their sponsors and the allocated funds.

The committee recommended that fake NGOs may be abolished and streamline/restructure the registration process of NGOs and INGOs, and order the audit of the projects working in the provinces.

The ministry officials informed the committee that some NGOs worked for foreign countries and intelligence agencies, while some UN agencies were found in some suspicious working. The Economic Affairs Ministry cannot give a clean chit to any NGO as they have no mechanism to monitor it. It was revealed that some foreign embassies put money into NGO accounts.

Due to the FATF conditions, this task was given to the Ministry of Economic Affairs; however, now it has moved a summary to relieve themselves from this job. The work of NGOs is overseen by the Interior Ministry and the Poverty Alleviation Division, ministry officials said.

Registration of NGOs is a matter for the provinces. International NGOs are overseen by the Ministry of Interior, said the EAD officials, adding that the Economic Affairs Division does not look after NGO development work, but work as a post office. Funds used in anti-state activities of NGOs are monitored by intelligence agencies. There are 64,719 NGOs registered in Pakistan, said the ministry officials, adding that 48,737 NGOs are not active at present.

Further around 15,982 NGOs are active, the ministry officials said, adding that the NGOs submitted 1,165 applications to the Economic Affairs Division for registration. Of these, 614 applications were approved and 213 applications were rejected, the ministry officials said. Further 338 registration applications are awaiting clearance.

In Pakistan, 552 local NGOs are run with external funding, the ministry officials said, adding that 117 are funded by the United States. There are 107 UK-funded NGOs operating in Pakistan, the ministry officials said.

Out of 140 international NGOs in Pakistan, 106 are registered, said the Interior Ministry officials. He said that the National Coordination Committee on Foreign Funded Projects (NCC-FFP) under the chair of the Minister for Economic Affairs has been constituted on the directions of the prime minister, to fast-track the disbursement of external economic assistance, undertake portfolio review of problematic projects, and track the delays in the implementation.

He added that after the meetings conducted by the NCC-FFP with all the stakeholders, a successful progress has been reflected. Many issues hurdling the implementation of projects were resolved and the communication gaps between the development partners and implementing agencies were abridged, resulting in a positive outcome in terms of disbursements and generic issue of projects implementations.

Concerning the allocation of the funds on various projects in the federating units, the Committee recommended that all the stakeholders i.e. the Ministry of Interior, the chief secretaries of all the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan may be invited in the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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