NGO related issue

Section of Law

(s.100) - Ordinarily, the daily hours for an adult worker to work in an establishment is eight hours in any day

(s.2(1)) - of the 2016 Act defines the term “NGO” as any organization registered by the Bureau to conduct voluntary activities inside Bangladesh and any organization or NGO registered under prevalent law of any foreign country, which is also registered under this Act, shall be included in it.

(s.101) - states that the term “Foreign Donation’’ means funds, goods, or any other grants or assistance given in any other form by any foreign Government, organization or any expatriate Bangladeshi citizen, in favor of any organization, NGO or individual to conduct voluntary or Charitable activities inside Bangladesh. Here, “Organization” means a non- political, non-profit voluntary association of persons established or registered under the relevant law of Bangladesh by whatever name it may be called with a view to conducting voluntary activities inside Bangladesh.

S.2(10) widely defines the phrase “Voluntary Activities” which includes non-profit social, religious, cultural, economic, educational activities, healthcare, relief and rehabilitation, agriculture, poverty alleviation, women’s empowerment, democracy and good governance, human rights, secularism etc and any other activities which may be specified by the Government from time to time, shall also be included in it..

(s.3) - In order to conduct Voluntary Activities by taking Foreign Donations, an individual has to obtain prior approval from the Bureau and an organization or NGO have to register with the Bureau (NGO Affairs Bureau)

(s.4)- For registration, the application shall be addressed to the Director General in the prescribed manner depositing prescribed fees. The application shall contain the particulars as to the amount of the foreign donation, source of its availability and the utilization of the fund along with other relevant information. If the particulars are correct then the Director General will issue a Registration Certificate in favor of the applicant for 10 (ten) years, renewable after every 10 (ten) years thereafter.The application for the renewal of the registration has to be made 6 (six) months prior to the expiry of the 10 (Ten) years tenure.

(s.5)- the Act provides a list of individuals or institutions for whom it is prohibited to accept foreign donations. The list includes any officer or employee of any government, semi-government, autonomous or statutory organization, judge of the Supreme Court, Member of the Parliament, any political party etc.


Section of Law

By s.6 of the Act, in order to accept the foreign donation, an individual or NGO needs to acquire an approval of the project. The project proposal shall be prepared in the prescribed form and an application for approval has to be furnished before the Director General. The Bureau, after primary scrutiny of the project proposal, shall obtain opinion from the concerned Ministry related with the project. Provided that voluntary activities under this Act in Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban Hill tracts, the concerned individual or NGO shall obtain opinion from the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs. The Bureau shall return the project proposal to the individual or NGO for alteration or correction as the case may be, in accordance with the objection or recommendation made by the concerned Ministry. Provided if the Bureau considers the objection or recommendation made by the concerned Ministry unacceptable, it shall forward the proposal to the Prime Minister’s Office and take further necessary action according to the directions passed by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Moreover, s.6(5) states that no registered NGO or Person shall spend more than 20% of approved expenditure limit of a project in its administrative functions. In case of any project related to Emergency Relief Program during any natural calamities or after any such disaster the Director General shall issue an order of release of fund from foreign donation including approval of the projects within 24 hours of application if the application and information furnished therewith appears to be appropriate.

Under S.7 of the Act, any NGO registered under this Act may grant assistance to any Bangladeshi non-government voluntary organization from foreign donation received by it, under the following conditions e.g- the receiver of the grant must be a registered organization under prevalent laws of Bangladesh; the approved project proposal of the granting NGO or individual must contain the details of the receiving NGO along with an outline of expenditure of fund to be granted; and the granting NGO or individual shall guarantee the implementation of the project in accordance with the conditions of approval of the project.

In case of appointment of Foreign Consultant, Advisor or Officer and Foreign Tours, the NGO or individual shall apply to the Director General in the prescribed form. The Director General shall approve the application if the relevant information is found correct. In addition, the Bureau shall be apprised of any official tour abroad of any individual engaged in voluntary activities spending the money of the approved budget of any project.

In relation to the maintenance of Account of Foreign Donations, s.9 of the Act states that the donations shall be received in foreign exchange or in local currency through a specific Bank account (mother account) maintained with any scheduled Bank. No Bank shall debit such account without the Approval of the releasing of fund issued by the Bureau. The Bangladesh Bank shall send to the Bureau and the Economic Relations Division half yearly statement of accounts of foreign exchange received by every individual or NGO in the months of July and January in every year.

Under s.10 of this Act the Bureau has the Power to make Inspection, Monitoring and Review. The Bureau shall form a Monitoring Committee and if necessary, shall appoint third party assessor. During inspection, monitoring and review, each NGO shall supply all concerned statements, ledger of accounts, documents and information according to requirement. On behalf of the Bureau, the Divisional Commissioners or the Deputy Commissioners or in appropriate cases the Upazila Nirbahi Officers within their respective jurisdictions shall review voluntary activities within their respective jurisdictions, in the prescribed manner. Moreover, there shall be a committee at the District level to supervise and evaluate activities of the NGOs in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area.


Section of Law

According to s.11 of the Act Each NGO shall have a Constitution regarding its formation, goals, objectives and management and the Constitution shall mention about the Managing Committee and the General Committee.

Regarding the Audit and Accounts, each NGO and individual shall in the prescribed manner, maintain its accounts and prepare annual statement of accounts. On completion of the project vouchers of expenditure shall be preserved for 5 (five) years in the prescribed manner, in appropriate cases, by the concerned person, central office of the NGO and the field level offices.

By s.13 of the Act, at the end of each Financial Year each NGO and individual, in the prescribed manner, shall submit before the Director General, an annual statement containing activities performed in the said Financial Year unless any individual or NGO is exempted by a written order of the Government.

If any NGOs or Individual violates any provision of this Act or pass any malicious and indecent (Derogatory and reproachful) comments regarding the constitution of Bangladesh or any constitutional institutions or engage it in any anti state activities or in financing, patronizing or supporting militancy and terrorist activities or having involvement with women and children trafficking or smuggling of narcotics and arms then it shall be treated to be an offence under s.14 of the Act for the time being in force.

If any offence is committed under S.14, the Director General may by issuing a letter, direct the said NGO or individual to be cautioned or rectified within the time specified therein or cancel or postpone the registration. If an offence of receiving foreign donation without permission or approval is committed then the Director General may, realize fine equivalent to any amount between the amount of foreign donation so received and the amount three times of the received foreign donations. The Director General may take necessary action in order to punish the concerned NGO or individual under prevalent laws of the country. Penal action may be taken against any official of any NGO if he/she commits any offence under this Act. Provided that the person can prove that the offence was not committed within his/her knowledge or he/she had taken sufficient preventive measures so that the offence could not be committed, in such cases the person concerned shall not be punishable for such offence.


Section of Law

If registration of any NGO is cancelled or it is abolished on any other grounds, the Director General with prior permission from the Government, shall order restraining any Bank or individual with whom fund from foreign donation is deposited, from selling or transferring any property without written permission by the Director General. The Director General may appoint an Administrator to conduct litigations for any other reasons. He/she may also Order a transfer of residual fund or asset to the concerned foreign donor after paying off all debts and liabilities of such NGO. The residual fund or asset in appropriate cases may be ordered to transfer to the Government account or to any other NGO having similar objectives as of the abolished NGO.

Any NGO or individual, being aggrieved by any order passed by the Bureau, shall prefer an appeal before the Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office (the appellate authority) within 30 (thirty) working days of such order and the time limit may be extended by the appellate authority to 15 (fifteen) working days, in case the applicant fails to prefer an appeal within the stipulated time of 30 (thirty) working days on a reasonable grounds. The appeal under shall be disposed off within 30 (thirty) working days from the date of admission or receipt of the appeal. The appellate authority shall uphold, annul or revise any orders given by the Bureau and the Decision given shall be deemed as final (s.17).

In order to meet objectives of this Act, the Government, by Notification in the Official Gazette, shall make rules: Provided that until Rules are formulated, the Government, if required, by general or special orders, subject to conformity with this Act, shall issue instructions about taking or performing any action (s.19). The government, if required, shall issue executive orders, from time to time (s.20).

In relation to the repealed Ordinances, any act or rule made, or order issued or any allegation instituted or petition filed subject to be in conformity with the provisions of this Act, shall be deemed to be made, issued, notified, given, instituted and submitted under this Act; and in case of any ongoing proceedings, subject to be in conformity with the provisions of this Act, shall be ongoing and uninterrupted in such a manner that the same have been adopted under this Act; and any litigation under disposal of any court on the date of commencement of this Act, shall be disposed of in such a manner under the provisions of the two repealed Ordinances that the said two Ordinances have not been repealed.