NGOs given 90 days to file tax returns
A total of 7,213 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are yet to file annual tax returns have been given 90 days to do so or risk de-registration.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday directed the organisations to file the returns with the NGOs Co-ordination Board.
He added that out of 11,890 registered organisations, only 9,525 were active.
Data for planning
“When we comply with the regulations, we know who we are dealing with and who we should deal with. Let them comply as this will help the government get accurate and reliable data for planning,” he said.
“This is to also ensure that there are no people who are being misused by terror organisations to masquerade as civil society organisations, but are in fact conduits for illicit funds and resources that go into radicalisation and recruitment of terrorists,” he added.
The minister was speaking during the official launch of the NGO Sector 2020/21 Report. He said the 9,525 active NGOs were important partners in the Big Four agenda, civic awareness and peacebuilding.
“They’ll however need to be compliant for effective coordination of their activities,” he said. He challenged them to allocate more funds to development projects, noting that the bulk of their budgets is on salaries and recurrent expenditure.
Matiang’i said the NGO sector plays a major role in the development of various areas. He pledged government support to the sector. Last year, NGOs received more than Sh138 billion, the NGO report said.
Out of this, 84 per cent came from foreign NGOs while the rest was raised locally. More than 47,000 people are on salaried employment in the sector.
Matiang’i said he would be happy to learn that most of the money received helps people locally and not just paying salaries and buying big cars.
“Do the resources help locals or do they just go into good salaries and big cars? The resources should help the people,” he said, adding that it would be wrong if 70 per cent of the Sh138 billion realised went into recurrent expenses.
However, the CS praised the sector for its work in society.
“We will support their actions to grow the sector. We will not clamp down on NGOs at all. We will not shut the internet. We are a responsible government,” he said.
The CS also assured the sector that the government welcomes disagreements because it has chosen democracy as a way of life.
“We know the role you play and appreciate that,” he said.
In 2019/20, the NGO Board registered 362 new organisations, 297 of which were national and 65 international.
NGOs received more than Sh138 billion last year and spent Sh164.3 billion.
The variance between receipt and expenditure was because some NGOs implement projects that run more than a year.
Further data collected indicated that Sh97.8 billion (60 per cent) of the total expenditure was spent on projects, 27 per cent on emoluments, 10 per cent on administration, and two per cent on other running costs.