NPOs need a legal framework to operate effectively

Accra,- Mr Dela Ashiagbor, Director of the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) Secretariat has said they need a legal framework in order to operate effectively.

He said its need could not be overemphasised since they had been a tool for development in the country.

He said this at a forum organised for stakeholders in Accra to discuss, review and solicit inputs for recommendations on the NPO Draft Bill 2021 to bring positive impact on the NPO sector.

The Bill has been triggered by concerns including the revision of Recommendation 8 of the 40 9 Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) 40 9 by the FATF which directed countries to undertake a risk based approach in the consideration of counterterrorism financing measures.

The Bill meets a requirement from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a body recognised globally that sets the standard seeking to combat money laundering, terrorism financing and other threats to the international financial system for legislation on the Non Profit sector.

Non Profit Organisations is defined in the Bill to include not-for-profit, non-governmental legal persons, associations, civil society organisations, foundations and centers primarily engaging in charitable, religious, cultural, educational, health social and communal activities for the public good.

Mr Ashiagbor said the Bill would provide NPOs, credibility, independence, protection and good governance in their operations, hence, donors would have confidence in them in their engagements.

He said the passage of the Bill would ensure that there were some mechanisms and systems that would enhance the operations of the sector in the country while providing them with a conducive environment to operate.

According to the Director, the number of NPOs had increased and were more than 10,000, however they could not work in a vacuum but to work with Government, therefore, the Bill had proposed the creation of a Secretariat to liaise with Government to ensure they worked with transparency and accountability.

The Secretariat is to be responsible for the registration, monitoring, evaluation and administration of NPOs.

Mr Emil Meddy, Manager of the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) cautioned NPOs against involving themselves in any form of money laundering or terrorist activity, since the sector had become vulnerable to terrorists and money laundering organisations.

“We have not experienced any terrorist act in the country yet, but that does not mean it cannot be possible, or our systems could not be used for these acts,’’ he said.

He said it was a crime to support terrorists and money launderers in any form as they required money, ideas, logistics and personnel for their activities to be successful.

Mr Meddy urged the NPOs not to perceive the Government as targeting the sector, since there had been reforms in other sectors to ensure transparency and accountability.

The forum was organised by the NPOs Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and sponsored by MoGCSP, Financial Intelligence Centre and Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenrabeit (GIZ).

Source: Ghana News Agency

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