291 NGOs fail to comply with regulations
Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
Most of the 291 private voluntary organisations recently deregistered by the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organisations had not bothered to submit their annual returns as required by the Private Voluntary Organisations Act, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima has said.
These returns and, for those raising money from donors for their work, audited financial statements are required so that everything is above board, genuine PVOs are able to continue doing their needed and valuable work, and vulnerable communities are not manipulated by self-seekers after donor funds.
Prof Mavima said the PVOs were deregistered for varying reasons, chief among them being departing from the mandate on which they were registered, failure to submit audited financials as per the dictates of the law and annual reports of their work.
“The reasons for deregistration vary from one organisation to another, but basically most of them failed to submit the needed annual returns as mandated by the Act,” said Prof Mavima.
“Typically, you will find that on rare occasions there are issues of national security, but those are very rare.
“The main problem was people biting off more than they could chew.
“People just register but they do not deliver on their mandate, and also some cannot keep up with the requirements for reporting, and therefore they end up being deregistered.”
“For example, they say they want to provide services to vulnerable people, maybe children, maybe elderly people. They bring brilliant ideas, but on implementation they find that they cannot get the resources that are needed and they cannot keep with the requirements.
“That is to say bring the report on an annual basis, bring audited financial statements. As a result they fail to comply, let alone to deliver on the mandate so they end up being deregistered because they have not fulfilled the requirements for registration,” said Professor Mavima.
In an earlier statement, the registrar of the PVOs announced the cancellation of the certificates of the delisted organisations for not complying with what the Act required. The reports are not onerous, but include the need to list all executive or committee members and detail any financial transactions. Some organisations quietly collapse during the year and the degregistration simply removes these from the lists.
“The Registrar of Private Voluntary Organisations in conjunction with the Private Voluntary Organisation Board has noted with concern that a number of registered private voluntary organisations are not complying with the prescribed expectations of their operations, as outlined in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act (Chapter 17:05),” said the statement.
“Accordingly, the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organisations and the Private Voluntary Organisation Board have therefore deregistered 291 organisations that were found to be non-compliant with the provisions of the Private Voluntary Organisation Act.”
The organisations were asked to go to the office of the Registrar of Private Voluntary Organisations and surrender their certificates.
The number who failed to follow the basic requirements of the Act are a small percentage of those who are registered, most of which routinely year after year send in the annual returns, and when those who run them decide there is no longer a useful purpose for the organisation they wind it up properly, close the bank accounts and tell the registrar what they have done.