Gov’t Tightens Grip on Foreign Funding

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The government last Monday announced that all international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOS) receiving foreign funds would now be disclosing details of such funding, including the source, purpose and how the funds were spent.

Making the announcement during her Annual Message to Legislature, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the decision was in line with her government’s “compliance and regulatory environment” policy.

Interestingly, people may consider the policy as government suppression of NGOs,’ but President Sirleaf clarified that it is intended to strengthen the NGOs by encouraging them to be transparent and accountable in their stewardship.

“Last year, I announced several policy measures on the operations of NGOs that are intended under a compliance and regulatory environment, to strengthen them for proper transparency and accountability of the resources they receive and the results that they produce,” she emphasized.  Instructing the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to enforce her administration’s policy, President Sirleaf declared, “The Ministry is to ensure implementation of those measures by finalizing the NGO’s policy guidelines and re-registration process to be announced by the end of the first half of 2015.”

She said the new plan will transition NGOs’ registration from a manual computer based system to an online registration process.

According to her, it would enable the international and local non-governmental organizations properly to  account for their operations at the local level where they work, allowing local government to have real time information on which NGOs is doing what and where.

“This is consistent with our new drive to de-concentrate and decentralize the delivery of services and to foster greater accountability to local government and citizens’ structure by the NGOs operating at the local level.

At the same time, she applauded them for what she described as their “speed and effectiveness during the Ebola outbreak.”

“NGOs operating in Liberia continue to be very strong partners in our development work. The speed and effectiveness of their response during the Ebola outbreak made tremendous contribution to our national effort,” she said.

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