A total of 1,465 out of the 2,000 registered non-government organisations (NGOs) in the country have failed to submit annual reports to the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment since 2003.
Consequently, the Ministry has threatened to withdraw its recognition from the defaulting NGOs and to recommend that they be denied exemption from paying duty on goods they import for their activities.
Mr Stephen Kpormegbe, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment, who disclosed this in Accra yesterday, said that the list of 535 NGOs that had submitted their annual reports would be posted on the government's website. He said that NGOs that were not on the published list “would find it difficult to operate”, since only the complaint NGOs would be recommended to donors and development partners.
Mr Kpormegbe was speaking at the opening of a meeting during which the performance of health-related NGOs was to be evaluated. He explained that the Ministry required financial statements in order to assess the activities of the NGOs, their achievements and how they had utilized the funds allocated to them by the country's development partners through the Ministry.
“These funds are given out by donors who are interested to know what the money is used for,” he said, adding that the publication of their accounts could even help to enhance the credibility of NGOs. The Deputy Director stressed that the Ministry's demand for the reports should not be misconstrued as witch-hunting, saying, “We need the data to be able to plan well our assistance to the NGOs to support their efforts.” He said: “As much as the Ministry wants to assist NGOs to supplement government's efforts towards the nation's socio-economic development, they must abide by the guidelines that regulate their operations.” The meeting, which was organised by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health, was attended by representatives of about 30 NGOs operating in the Greater Accra Region.