This is in reference to the story, “Governance board accuses NGOs of wasteful spending”, (The New Times, February 25).
The first thing the Government should do is to make annual financial audits compulsory for non-governmental organisations.
The situation was already rampant in Ethiopia in the 1990s, where the number of NGOs was higher than in Rwanda today. Twenty years later, there is no requirement for NGOs to have their accounts audited annually in this country. This should change now.
Another thing the Government should do is to create a ministerial-level entity responsible for the coordination and oversight of NGOs, as other countries have done, for example, Rwanda Development Board. The officials there would be experts on the workings of NGOs who would be able to assess if an NGO deserves to work in Rwanda and if their plans are helpful and relevant to the objectives of the country.
Such experts would be able to agree with NGOs on what outputs and outcomes are to be achieved, and how they can be measured. At the moment, such an expert supervisory body does not exist.
All international NGOs in Rwanda are supervised by a small office in the Department of Internal Security, where there is very little expertise or understanding of how NGOs work. Of course, doing all of these would immediately lead to a reduction of the amount of per diems, expenses, reimbursements and other monies that are milked from the NGOs every year.
Tuti Melasukate, Kigali