Finance department seeks views of NGOs on national budget | 08 August 2020
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work closely with numerous groups in the community and they are the first to know the needs of people and they help the government to deliver its programmes. In this light, the department of finance met with them to hear their views and concerns as it prepares the forthcoming budget.
Through various presentations, representatives of several NGOs who had gathered at the STC conference room for the consultative meeting on Thursday morning were briefed on a variety of budget related aspects. They were also able to air their related challenges and concerns .
Addressing the participants, the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, noted that the NGO sector is very important to the government as it supports its various programmes and projects in the community.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said the government allocates some R30 million and more from the budget to the NGO sector every year and expects to continue to do so in spite of budget constraints.
“This is because we firmly believe the sector is essential to the functioning of the government. We are the first to recognise that there is always a budget constraint but in spite of that we have managed over the years to continue to provide assistance to the sector while ensuring there is more accountability in the expenditure,” Minister Loustau-Lalanne pointed out.
Among the issues the NGOs raised was the complicated procedure to follow when applying for financial assistance through the national grant. Their concern is that the procedure does not take into account the challenges and specificities of each NGO individually.
Damien Thésée, principal secretary for finance, also stressed the importance of NGOs in helping the government deliver its programmes and projects to the community.
“NGOs help support and complement the work of the government through the assistance they receive and this is why it is important that there is transparency and accountability in the process and its outcomes,” PS Thésée said.
Rosy Denis, chief executive of the Association for the Promotion of Solid and Humane Families (APSHF), welcomed the initiative for the consultative meeting.
“We have received a lot of information on a wide range of issues related to the work we do and how to better manage the financial assistance we receive. I welcome the fact that all along the importance of the work the various NGOs are doing has been highlighted and appreciation shown,” Ms Denis said.
“We also received the firm reassurance that the government will continue to assist us in spite of the country’s economic constraints,” she added.