CSO Leaders Debate NGO Regulations 2017 vis-à-vis the Operating Environment

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“We need to be compliant with the regulations so that there is no excuse.” – Margaret Sekagya, HRCU

On Friday 23rd June 2016, about 50 leaders of civil society gathered at Royal Suites Hotel Bugolobi for the quarterly CSO Leaders reflection. In the words of Richard Ssewakiryanga, ED UNNGOF, these reflections are held in cognizance of the different spaces that CSOs operate in and therefore it’s imperative to touch base often and reflect on key issues that affect the sector.

This quarter’s reflection has held in the context of the NGO Act 2016 and NGO Regulations 2017. It’s important to note that the development of both these legal instruments saw heavy collaboration between the NGO Bureau and NGOs through the leadership of Uganda National NGO Forum and various other NGOs. The process of development of the regulations themselves saw consultations around the country with key individuals to ensure a progressive document that is not overbearing to the sector.

There was a presentation on key tenets of the NGO Act 2016 and the NGO Regulations 2017 by Peter Magelah of Chapter Four. These include the provision for temporal closure for reasons like lack of funding; the requirement to file returns every 12 months; NGO incorporation being at the URSB and registration at the NGO Bureau; conditions for an operating permit on geographical or subject of operation; the new definitions of foreign, national and continental organisations based on the nationality of the organisations board members; and many others. For the regulations and the NGO fees, please visit the links below;

NGO Regulations http://ngoforum.or.ug/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2017/06/NGO-Reg-2017.pdf

NGO Fees http://ngoforum.or.ug/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2017/06/NGO-Fees-Reg-2017.pdf

The reflection also saw a panel discussion saw presentations on key issues in the operating environment for NGOs. Mohammed Ndifuna presented on security, tracking the attacks in recent times on police and army, murders targeting business men, break-ins at NGO premises, hoodlums loose on the streets, rumours of mass graves and torture houses. Ndifuna proposed that CSOs continue to be watch dogs to hold authorities’ accountable and civil society should claim its space on issues of security.

“We need to have a discourse on the kind of security we want for our country. “ – Ndifuna M

Ramathan Goobi spoke to the Economy, warning of the dwindling of international reserves with the depreciation of currency across the region; public debt is rising and the problem lies in the national definition of debt; the erosion of the fiscal space of Uganda and other countries, with government increasing spending without compromising the private sector; and the failure to adopt second generational reforms, among others. He raised to key questions to reflect on; Why are Ugandans unwilling to save through banks? And, When will Uganda get a competition law?, nobody is regulating the economy.

“The economy is sick but not yet in recession.” – Ramathan Goobi

Ms Patricia Bamanyaki, FOWODE on the gender aspects of the 2017/2018 Budget spoke of the need for gender responsive budgeting in cognizance of the fact that different sexes are affected differently.

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