The NGOs e-Portal and support desk service in the Ministry of Economic Affairs was opened by Minister for Economic Affairs, Omar Ayub Khan.
The inauguration was attended by Noor Ahmed, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs such as Community World Service Asia, SPADO, and HRDN.
The Secretary EAD welcomed the participants and provided an overview of the current NGO sector in Pakistan, as well as the NGO Policy, 2013, which had a number of flaws, including a lack of clear definition, eligibility criteria, appeal process, oversight and reporting arrangements, and obligations and prohibitions.
The clearance process under the former policy was lengthy, taking an average of 12-18 months to complete after consultation with several ministries, departments, and organisations.
He informed the audience that the ECC had approved a new “Policy for NGOs/NPOs Receiving Foreign Contribution – 2021” at its meeting on June 16, 2021. The approval procedure will be finished within 60 days, at most, under the new policy, thanks to online filing of applications and consultations, which will eliminate manual processing and substantial delays.
The NGOs e-portal will give genuine organisations more room to play a bigger part in socioeconomic development while discouraging NGOs with questionable credentials. Enhanced data reporting and disclosure rules, along with clever monitoring structures, will improve the effectiveness, transparency, and impact of foreign contributions dramatically.
According to the Minister of Economic Affairs, the NGOs’ space in the country has diminished over time, and the current government is committed to expanding the role of private and NGOs.
He praised the EAD INGOs/NGOs team, emphasising that the NGOs e-portal is a watershed moment for NGOs and Civil Society Organizations. He went on to say that the government recognises the role of NGOs since it cannot engage the vast majority of people, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged, in the implementation of its development programme on its own.
The e-portal allows users to submit new applications, renew existing ones, request additional projects, and get auto-generated mail such as acknowledgements, approvals, and regrets.
Stakeholders’ online agreement via a time-limited software programme would help to speed up the consultation process. It will also provide each NGO with its own user ID and password, as well as tracking options. The dashboard for authorised, in-process, and disapproved NGOs will be updated in real time.
MoUs and other documentation will be forwarded to the interested organisations electronically after they have been approved. Before its ultimate debut, the e-portal was piloted and continually upgraded. It is, however, being continuously upgraded to make it more user-friendly.
The NGOs e-portal will have FAQs, checklists, pertinent laws and policies, as well as User Guide Manuals and Videos.