Bangladesh Cabinet approves drafts of 2 legal instruments

‘No NGO can function before registration’

pm picBangladesh Cabinet on Monday approved the drafts of two legal instruments along with giving consent to draft of the inaugural speech to be delivered by the President in the first session of the 2015 calendar year.
The instruments approved by the cabinet are:- ‘Foreign Contributions (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act, 2014′ and ‘Supreme Court Judges (leave Pension and Privileges) Ordinance (amendment), Act 2014′.
The approval was given in the weekly meeting of the cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan while briefing reporters after the meeting said the cabinet has given final approval to the draft of the ‘Foreign Contributions (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act 2014′ for regulation of the activities of the non-government organizations receiving foreign contributions.
The Foreign Contributions (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act, 2014′ will be a comprehensive and wide ranging legal instrument for giving support and regulation of the NGO activities. It has been prepared integrating two previous legal instruments– The Foreign Donations Voluntary Activities Regulation Ordinance-1978, and The Foreign Contributions Regulation Ordinance-1982, — both were passed during the period of the military regimes and other executives orders passed earlier in this regard.
The draft also accommodated the opinions and recommendations of the concerned ministries and departments, stakeholders of the NGOs and civil society members, the cabinet secretary said. Musharraf Hossain said the new law stipulated the registration and renewal of the NGOs. It will ensure more transparency in receiving foreign contributions by NGOs as well as their activities.
The law clearly mentioned that no NGO can function before registration with the NGO Bureau. In the application for registration, an organization must clearly mention the source of the fund and areas of spending. The registration will be given for ten years, but the government can cancel the registration anytime in case of any violation of the law.
Besides, without approval of the NGO Bureau, no NGO can take or implement any program or project. An NGO can appoint foreign consultant taking security clearance from the home ministry, the law said.
The law also mentioned that the NGOs must maintain its accurate accounts and all foreign contributions should be deposited in a single account in a bank. Later, it could be transferred to the account of the project of program.
Statement of the accounts of the NGOs must be submitted to NGO Bureau, which will have power for inspection, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the NGOs. Annual statement should be submitted by every NGO to the Director General of the NGO Bureau, the law said.
Any violation of the law would be considered as offence and punishment will be applicable depending on the nature of the offence.
Warning, cancellation of the registration and penalty would be punishment for any administrative irregularities. But, any offence of criminal nature like terror financing, women or child trafficking, drug smuggling will be dealt under the existing criminal law of the country.
The ‘Supreme Court Judges (leave Pension and Privileges) Ordinance (amendment), Act 2014′ has proposed for enhancement of the rate of gratuity of the Supreme Court and High Court judges in case of compulsory surrender of their pension.
In that case every retired judge of 40 to 45 years will get Taka 260 for surrender of every taka of their pension while the rate will be Taka 245 for the judges of 45 to 50 years and Taka 230 for the judges of 50 years and above.
The new rate will come into effect from December 1, 2013, the law proposed. –Our Monitor (Photo: PID)

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