Finance Minister AMA Muhith has sought cooperation from international development partners so the government can have better data on the aid going to non-government and civil society organisations.
“The data relating to aid channelled through different NGOs and civil society organisations are barely reported to the system,” he said.
Muhith spoke at the Global Partnership of Effective Development Cooperation Forum in Busan, South Korea on Tuesday.
The minister said much of the information of aid channelled through these organisations remain undocumented and beyond public knowledge.
“We are addressing these points and urge better cooperation from our country level development partners,” Muhith said in his speech, a copy of which was sent to reporters by his office yesterday.
Technical assistance does not always add value in terms of strengthening national capacity or meaningful transfer of knowledge and technologies, he said.
“These call for the global partnership to undertake some critical review of these issues,” he said.
Muhith added: “We are facing some challenges in regard to managing data from different development partners. While some partners have deep interest in data disclosure, some are not so enthusiastic about it.”
A number of ministers during a regular cabinet meeting on Monday demanded stricter monitoring of the activities of the local and international NGOs operating in Bangladesh.
They called for scrutinising the earnings and expenditures of the NGOs.
On Monday, Md Shahadat Hossain, acting director general of NGO Affairs Bureau, said the government agency regularly monitors the activities of the NGOs operating with foreign donations.
According to the bureau, 2,565 NGOs now run with foreign funds. Bureau officials, however, said some 1,400 of them are operating in full swing while the rest are struggling because of a fund crisis.
“It is surprising that there is such a gap of information,” Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, told The Daily Star on Monday.
“All international funds, received and spent by any registered NGO in Bangladesh, are strictly subject to approval of the NGO Affairs Bureau under the Prime Minister’s Office.”