The Edo State head of service, Anthony Okungbowa, has assured members of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOs) that the state government would do all within its powers to guarantee their smooth operation in the state.
The HOS gave this assurance when he received members of the executive of CONGOOs, Edo State Chapter who paid him an advocacy visit in his office.
Drawing from the request by CONGOs for the abolition of what they referred to as multiple registration of NGOs in the course of their various engagements with government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Edo as in other parts of the country, the Head of Service said the state government will re-invent the process of registration of NGOs operating in the state with a view to eliminating tendencies that can lead to double taxation of the non-profit organizations.
While commending CONGOs for sacrificing their time and resources in their advocacies for a better human society, the Head of Service said though their request was not within his jurisdiction to handle, his office will advise appropriate government departments for action.
He appreciated his guests for acknowledging the essence of regulating NGOs operating in the state, emphasizing that government has the responsibility to provide the governance structure to regulate the operations of NGOs in the state.
“Government needs to know which NGOs is where and doing what in the state in order to check quackery. The government should provide the platform to register NGOs; it can’t be left entirely in the hands of CONGOS alone. It won’t be possible for the government to register any NGO in the state without inputs from your body.
“I am happy you admitted this fact in your address. As for the issue of taxation, I feel it is inappropriate to tax organizations run for not for profit purposes”, the head of Service noted.
The president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, Edo state Chapter, Mrs. Abiola Daisy Igaga had earlier in her address drawn attention to the essence of their meeting with the HOS which essentially bothered on the need to build a viable framework for documenting Civil Society groups for government’s attention and patronage.
Igaga said there has been the absurd issue of multiple registrations which in most cases goes with multiple taxation to which several meetings and discussions aimed at proffering solutions had been held.
To deal with the problem of multiple registrations and its twin problem of multiple taxations, Mrs. Igaga urged that the Ministry of Gender and Youths should be adopted as the ministry that compiles details of NGO/CSOs operating in the State, stressing that in registering the NGOs, the question of payment of registration fees should be discarded.
She contended that entrusting taxation responsibilities to non-governmental organizations contradict the status of NGOs as non-for-profit bodies that largely fund its activities from voluntary contributions of members and allies.
She averred that the registration of NGO/CSOs with government controlled and determined institutions, ought notaffect their distintion as non-for-profit, non state actors that are independent of government control.
She however expressed confidence that the meeting with the Head of Service and the resolutions therefrom would usher in a new and positive chapter in the relationship between the government and non-governmental organizations in the state.