Edo State Chief of Staff Anthony Okungbowa assured members of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGO) that the state government would do everything in its power to ensure their smooth functioning in the state.
HOS gave this assurance when he received executive members of CONGOOs, Edo State Chapter, who paid him an advocacy visit to his office.
Drawing inspiration from the CONGO’s demand for the abolition of what they called multiple registration of NGOs in the context of their various engagements with government ministries, departments and agencies in Edo as in other parts of the country, the department head said the state government will reinvent the registration process for NGOs operating in the state with a view to eliminating trends that can lead to double taxation of nonprofit organizations.
While commending the CONGOs for sacrificing their time and resources in advocating for a better human society, the head of service said that although their request is outside his purview, his office will advise the appropriate government departments to ‘they act.
He appreciated that his guests recognized the essence of regulating NGOs operating in the state, emphasizing that the government has the responsibility to provide the governance structure to regulate the operations of NGOs in the state.
“The government needs to know which NGOs are where and do what in the state in order to control quackery. The government should provide the platform to register NGOs; it cannot be left entirely in the hands of CONGOS alone. It will not be possible for the government to register an NGO in the state without your organization’s contribution.
“I’m glad you admitted that fact in your speech. As for the question of taxation, I believe that it is inappropriate to tax non-profit organizations,” noted the head of department.
The Chairperson of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, Edo State Chapter, Mrs. Abiola Daisy Igaga had earlier in her speech drawn attention to the essence of their meeting with HOS which was primarily concerned with the need to build a viable framework for documenting civil status Groups in society for the attention and patronage of the government.
Igaga said there was the absurd issue of multiple registrations which in most cases came with multiple impositions to which multiple meetings and discussions to come up with solutions took place.
To address the problem of multiple registrations and its dual problem of multiple taxations, Ms. Igaga called for the Ministry of Gender and Youth Affairs to be adopted as the ministry that compiles details of NGOs/CSOs operating in the state, pointing out that When registering the NGO, the issue of payment of registration fees should be ruled out.
She argued that entrusting fiscal responsibilities to nongovernmental organizations contradicts the status of NGOs as not-for-profit organizations that largely fund their activities through voluntary contributions from their members and allies.
She asserted that the registration of NGOs/CSOs with government-controlled and determined institutions should not affect their distinction as non-state, non-profit actors that are independent of government control.
However, she said she was convinced that the meeting with the head of the service and the resulting resolutions would usher in a new positive chapter in the relationship between the government and the state’s non-governmental organizations.