Plea to set up trust fund to finance NGOs

Dhaka,  Wed,  24 May 2017
Published : 19 May 2017, 00:30:44
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Plea to set up trust fund to finance NGOs

FE Report


Development experts urged the government Thursday to create a 'trust fund' to finance local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to reduce dependency on foreign aid for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They also called for govt-NGO partnership for starting a new development paradigm which will help achieve double-digit economic growth of the country.

Economists, development experts, bureaucrats and NGO representatives took part at a discussion on 'Bangladesh NGOs' role for implementing SDGs' held in Dhaka Thursday.

The Bureau of NGO Affairs and Citizens' Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh jointly organised the conference.

Presided over by Director General of the NGO Affairs Bureau Khandakar Rakibur Rahman, Chief Coordinator for SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office M Abul Kalam Azad, General Economics Division (GED) Member Professor Shamsul Alam, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Chairman and senior economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, and Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD)'s distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya spoke at the inaugural session of the day-long conference.

Dr Debapriya said the government should create Tk 1.0 billion trust fund for financing local NGOs to cut dependency on foreign funds and streamline their works with the government for achieving SDGs.

Supporting the proposal, Dr Kholiquzzaman said the size of the trust fund should be Tk 10 billion as the NGOs are playing a vital role for social development in the country.

"It is now time to recognise hundreds of NGOs which are working for the people. They have been investing their funds and efforts for improving Bangladesh's social indicators. So, the govt-NGO coordination is must for fulfilling the target of the SDGs," said Dr Debapriya.

He urged the government to introduce the 'public-civil citizen partnership' like public-private partnership (PPP) model for developing the country at a higher pace.

The CPD fellow also stressed the need for carrying out a detailed survey on Bangladesh's NGOs and formulating a structural policy for facilitating their works for development.

SDG Chief Coordinator Mr Abul Kalam Azad said, "We need a massive shift in our development paradigm. Here the partnership of GO-NGOs is very imperative."

"If we fail to change our development paradigm, our economic growth will be not cross 7.2 or 7.5 or 8.0 per cent. Shift in development paradigm can only help us reach double-digit growth and achieve the SDG targets."

Mr Azad requested the government ministries and agencies concerned to arrange GO-NGO dialogues frequently so that the 17 goals of the SDGs could be achieved by 2030.

Professor Shamsul Alam called upon the NGOs to prepare an 'action plan' for achieving the SDGs which the government would take care.

Appraising the NGOs' role in social sector development, Prof Shamsul Alam said if the NGOs could take real sector programmes and bankable projects, the government will come forward for facilitating their works.

NGO Bureau DG Mr Rokibur Rahman said a total of 2,533 local and foreign NGOs are registered with the Bureau.

Among them, 1,200-1,300 NGOs are in operation across the country. These are playing a vital role for developing Bangladesh's social sector, he added.

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