INGO – Receipt of Local Grants

Published By The Daily Star on February 02, 2016 (Link Above)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies.

QUERY
Dear your advocate, it is our pleasure to write to you. We are an International NGO (INGO) operating in Bangladesh in Multiple development sectors. So far we have been receiving grants from our head office or sometimes directly from government of different European countries or other reputed donors. However, we have been approached by several local organisations, which are willing to be our donor and requesting us to implement projects with their grant amounts. We are desirous to know if we are allowed to receive local grants being an INGO.  Thank you.

RESPONSE
Dear reader, thank you very much for your query. You are in particular desirous to know whether as an International Non-Government Organisation (INGO), your organisation can receive donations/funds from any local/ national donor.

Local NGOs can receive donations from both international and national donors. In case of foreign donation, local NGOs need to take permission from NGOAB. As regards INGOs, the situation is little vague. It is generally perceived that INGOs by default shall be receiving funds/donations only from foreign donors. However, it is merely a presumption and there exists no legal bar in receiving donations/funds from local/national donors.

The above is, however, subject to at least two practical conditions. Firstly, your organisation must ensure that there is no restriction on receiving donations/funds from national or local donor in Bangladesh in the charter/constitution of your organisation. Your constitution must allow such receipts and utilisation of donations/funds from national or local donor in Bangladesh or at least the charter shall not impose any bar. Secondly, since your organisation is registered under NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh (NGOAB), it is requisite that the permission or registration certificate issued by the NGOAB allows, or at least does not bar or restrict, you to receive and utilise donations/funds from national or local donor in Bangladesh. While such bar is unlikely, nevertheless you should carefully look into the terms of your registration document and any extension thereof.

Should there be no bar/restriction in both your constitution as well as the permission/registration issued by the NGOAB, then there is no legal bar in receiving and utilising donations/funds received from national or local donor in Bangladesh.

On a practical note, I would also advise your organisation to perform the followings before receiving or utilising such local amounts:
Whether the donor is a person or an organisation; carrying out a due diligence is highly encouraged to assess  the donor and the source of amount offered;

* You may attempt to acquire a general ‘No Objection Certificate’ from NGOAB;
* You should maintain a book of accounts on all the donations received locally. This would aid you in proving how much money they have received and from whom, how they have utilised it etc. so that the document is readily available for inspection by NGOAB or relevant authorities.

I hope that the above shall help you to ascertain the legal position of your organisation and act accordingly.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com