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State directs NGOs to declare sources of funding

Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Raymond Omollo

Kenya is now demanding for compliance from Non-Governmental Organizations to file their annual returns and declare sources of funding as the country heightens its vigilance against illicit financial flows.

This follows a damning report that barely 30pc of the 12,162 NGOs registered in the country filed their returns in the 2021/22 Financial Year.

The Principal Secretary for Internal Security and National Administration Dr. Raymond Omollo has described as “unacceptable” the low levels of compliance with the existing legal and regulatory frameworks, adding that it is enough reason to infer that the culprits are involved in shady activities, including terrorist financing.

“You must embrace transparency in your funding sources as well as expenditure,” he told the sector players.

“Your financial records should be an open testament to your integrity and reflect your dedication to ethical practices.” Dr. Omollo relayed the government’s undertaking to create a conducive environment for the sector players to thrive, with plans underway to operationalize the much-awaited BPO Act.

He urged the organizations to reciprocate and honour their obligations as an affirmation of their commitment to the values that underpin the course of true service to humanity.

He said, “You, as the torch bearers of change, must reciprocate the trust bestowed upon you by ensuring total compliance with our legal and regulatory frameworks. Those that have not yet registered must also formalize their status as the first critical step towards ensuring accountability, transparency, and legitimacy in their operations.”

He was speaking at the launch of the Annual NGO Sector Report 2021/2022, which details the activities carried out by NGOs in the financial year.

The activities are indicated in the Annual Reports submitted by individual NGOs in line with the Non Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Act.

According to the Report indicates that NGO sector in Kenya spent a total of Ksh 185.5 billion in the financial year, Ksh 118 billion of which was pumped into project implementation, Ksh 49.7 billion for personnel emoluments, Ksh 18.4 billion as administration costs and Ksh 4.4 billion on tangible assets.

Dr. Omollo challenged the organizations to prioritize development projects in critical sectors and align their programmes with the government’s agenda on job creation and inclusive socioeconomic empowerment.

“Access to affordable credit for low-income earners, informal traders, women and youth enterprises through the Hustler Fund and provision of safe, secure and affordable housing in informal settlements are some of the sectors in the Government’s agenda that NGOs similarly need to plug in,” he noted.

The report also indicates that a total of 9,794 organisations were active, representing 80pc of NGOs cumulatively registered by the Board.

In addition, some 3,005 NGOs which filed their annual reports reported receiving Ksh 175.9 billion and spending Ksh 185.5 billion, employed 71,096 people.

PS Omollo encouraged them to leverage the wide network presented by National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) to decentralize their operations to the grassroots for maximum impact on the communities they serve.

The launch of the report also coincides with the NGOs Week 2023, an annual event that brings together Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the public and private sectors to showcase their services and operations.

The Week encompasses exhibitions and webinars on topical issues about the multi-billion-shilling sector which complements Government development efforts.