Gweru -National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) recently engaged various Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is mandated to coordinate Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) programmes in Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
The meeting was aimed at raising awareness on the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Bill and help NPOs to understand why there was need for such a bill.
Speaking at the event, FIU Officer Plaxedia Maketo reiterated that the bill had caused so much confusion amongst the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and hence there was need to clarify and raise awareness.
“The bill has caused so much mist in the NPOs and is being viewed as a way to shrink the civil society space.
“This shows so much lack of understanding by the NPO sector hence we want to demystify all these claims,” she said.
She further said the bill currently at the national House of Assembly stage is a requirement that came from the FATF not the FIU or the ministry of Labour complied with recommendation 8 of the FATF which requires countries to have appropriate laws to govern operations of NPOs.
“The PVO bill complies with recommendation 8 of the FATF. NPOs have access to resources and their work is intensive meaning that they are prone to diversion of funds by manipulating programmes to support terrorism,” she added.
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Registrar of Public Voluntary Organizations official Maxwell Chinenga said government was there to create a conducive environment and not shrink NPOs space hence the need for awareness raising meetings.
In addition Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association Director (GRRA), Cornelius Selipiwe said that such awareness programmes should be raised before consultations are made to avoid confusion.
“My question is why now when already the consultations have been done? If these awareness programmes had been done prior, then NPOs would have been equipped with sufficient and correct information to contribute to the bill,” said Selipiwe.
Meanwhile, NANGO Midlands regional coordinator Titus Mangoma also said that the PVO bill has been received with mixed feelings as it has some clauses that appear to be shrinking civic space.
He added that this awareness was very essential in covering the information gap that exists between the NPOs and government.