July 23, Colombo: The Finance and Planning Ministry of Sri Lanka yesterday has informed all Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs ) in the country that they should receive prior approval from the Ministry before receiving any foreign funds.
The notice from the Finance Ministry follows the order issued earlier this month by the National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs), a body functioning under the Ministry of Defense, warning them not to engage in activities outside their mandate, specifically holding press conferences, training journalists and conducting workshops which are threating to security and peaceful environment of the country.
According to the Finance Ministry's notice, all government agencies, local institutions, civil society organizations, and the general public are required to "observe due diligence" on the utilization of funds received from foreign funding agencies, INGO's and any other source.
The Ministry said that several complaints have been lodged at the Ministry regarding the utilization of Foreign Funds without adherence to local standards and structures.
Moreover, some of the projects carried out through foreign funding were outside the government budget undermining the national development programs, the Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne responding to the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in parliament today said that under the laws of the country all NGOs should clearly indicate the activities they will be carrying out during the registration of the NGO and they cannot deviate from their stated objectives and cannot act contrary to the laws of this country.
He emphasized that the government cannot permit activities that are against the country's interests and it is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the country and its territory.