NGO insight; Laws & Registration in Bangladesh

Organizations acts as the backbone of a society. There are various kinds of organizations but under the main heading, we can divide them into three part Government organizations, Private organizations and Non Governmental organizations. Non – Governmental organizations (NGO’s) are a little bit exceptional then others, thus we hear them often in the various positive news. Often many activists dream to have their own NGO to make changes to the society but creating one by no means a child play. Now to understand the whole idea we need to consider a few aspects as well.

What is a Non – Governmental organization (NGO)

NGO was first formally visualized in Article 71 of UN Charter it said  “The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations ..” [ See more. ] which is a key fact how NGO’s makeshift to the mainstream as a separate organization with power but that does not answer what is an NGO? Here is the simple answer: a Non-governmental organization a legal entity that is not a direct part of a government, independent from government control, not a direct competitor in politics. Generally, NGO’s are established by a group of individuals to make a positive change in society. They collect funds from various donors around the world and try to service their aim. NGO’s can be various kinds, such as zonal, national, international etc.

How Does it differ from other organization?

Now modern organizations are very complex in stricture, for example, NGO’s are collaborating with government and under some bindings too. So thing blurs time to time, generally, NGO’s are considered non – profit, non – dependent on government and to fulfil their particular purpose but they can be a helping hand of government, can raise capital and earn profit to fulfil their purpose. They will not follow the company law or business law but they can be involved in the business as a separate entity of a linked NGO. So a careful observation is a much need both on de facto and de jure activities of an NGO. Thus it can be concluded that the formation procedure, objective and the activities of an organization shall be the final proof that is an NGO; it must not be a full profitable business institution, nor it deserve to a part of the government where it works for government by their rule, it must fulfil the purpose of its constitution and act accordingly.

What are the concerns regarding NGOs?

In the face of NGO, it may look like a God sent organization for the betterment of this world but the reality might be a little bit different, as we mentioned earlier there are many classifications and kinds of NGO’s around the world. There are Zonal, National or International NGO. Based on funding we can further broaden the category of NGO s like locally funded, Government funded, Foreign Government funded, funded by national and international institutions and bodies and NGOs are covering a wide range of sectors for example:

NGO programs typically include:

  1. Human Rights
  2. Woman Rights
  3. Humanitarian Situation
  4. Health issue
  5. Education
  6. Responding to health crises
  7. Environmental issues
  8. Economic programs
  9. Skills development
  10. Local development
  11. Social issues
  12. Religious perspective ( support and help)
  13. Research
  14. Survey and Study

And many more like this, but the problem is they do always play by the rule. Many NGO’s are accused to promote and implant foreign culture and propaganda in various countries, some are put into question for their questionable financial management, often many NGOs are accused to support fundamentalist around the world. Espionage is also a great headache of any government. Intentional survey, the purposive interpenetration of findings and lobbying in the government for the benefit of a certain group of people also important factors to consider. On the other hand sentiments, multinational NGOs are more powerful than a small state.

So there are numbers of concerns that need to take good care before and after the establishment of an NGO.

How to Register an NGO in Bangladesh

So far you have read all the important points that you have to consider before preceding to register your NGO  here are some exclusive and arranged information for you.

An NGO can be registered in three ways in Bangladesh

A. Under NGO Affairs Bureau

Mainly acted under Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulations Act, 2016 (FDRA); to register an NGO certain tasks have to complete; ( as mentioned in section 4 of FDRA )

  1. FD-1 Form (signed by Chief Executive in Bangladesh) – 9 copies
  2. Certificate of incorporation in the Country of origin – 3 copies
  3. Constitution – 4 copies
  4. Activities Report – 6 copies
  5. PIan of Operation (Work/Organogram) –  4 copies
  6. Decision of the committee/ Board to open an office in Bangladesh – 4 copies
  7. Letter of Appointment of the Country Representative – 4 copies
  8. Copy of Treasury chalan in support of depositing 50000 Taka for local NGO and USD $ 9,000 or Equivalent TK amount for foreign NGO in the Code 1-0323-0000-1836 and 15% Vat Code No (1-1133-00 35 -0311)  – 3 copies
  9. Deed of agreement stamp of TK.300 with the landlord in support of opening the office in Bangladesh – 3 copies
  10. List of Executive Committee (foreign) –  4 copies
  11. Letter of Intent – 5

Note: AII documents from abroad should be notarized by Justice of peace or attested by Bangladesh Embassy

Reference Link

NGO in Bangladesh

Various kinds of NGO’s in a text cloud

Now this first way of registration is the most important one for the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulations Act, 2OL6 (FDRA), here are some key parts of the Act

  • It defined NGO under section 2(1) and foreign donations under section 2(5) which is very important to operate an NGO in Bangladesh
  • Section 3 of the Act made the registration of NGO’s mandatory where any foreign transaction occurs and this act prevails over all other existing and related laws.
  • Section 4 of the Act described the registration procedure of an NGO
    • Necessary documents have to be submitted (given above)
    • The officials shall check the documents and permit the NGO for 10 years.
    • It must be re-submitted to renew the time 6 month prior to the end of that 10 years.
  • Under section 5 it imposed certain bars to receive donations from certain persons
  • Section 6 articulated that Appointment of Foreign Consultant, Advisor or Officer and Foreign Tours must be informed to the government hand must have their security clearance thereof.
  • Section 9 directed to maintain the account of foreign donations. as well as each NGO and individual shall in the prescribed manner, maintain its accounts and prepare an annual statement of accounts; ( section 12) by the authorised audit firm [See the list]
  • Section 10 empowers the government to make Inspection, Monitoring and Review any NGO
  • Under section 15 the Act said if any NGO violates this law or any law of Bangladesh the can take appropriate action against that NGO

Here is the English version of the Act for your convenience: Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulations Act, 2016
In Bangla [Preffered]: বৈদেশিক অনুদান (স্বেচ্ছাসেবামূলক কার্যক্রম) রেগুলেশন আইন, ২০১৬

B. Under the Department of Social Services (DSS)

This is done under the Ministry of Social Welfare The application process easier here as online application system is available and the processing time is known to be around 7 months long [Further verification needed]. but the catch is registering with DSS only gives you permission to operate in Bangladesh only it does not permit to accept foreign donations. Follow this link for more details and procedure  [In Bangla]

The key legal instruments here are:

B. Under Joint Stock Companies and Firms

Registering with Bangladesh Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms  this is more a technical approach to register an NGO in Bangladesh because it is;

  • Even faster application processing time
  • Easier Application process
  • Digital RJSC – providing online services like name search, name clearance etc.

It requires you to create a Memorandum of Association [see a sample here] & to have a Name clearance from Joint Stock Companies & Firms Registrar.

first, it requires to get a name clearance like a business name clearance and it can be done from this link;

(http://www.roc.gov.bd:7781/psp/nc_search?p_user_id=) [ this link is not working currently but you may try], select ‘Society’ as the Entity type and search for the organization name you are looking for. Once it is ensured that the name is not taken, you can proceed with the Name clearance application online. There is a fee of 600 BDT per name that needs to be paid in a local bank in Bangladesh, instructions for which will follow once you finish the online application. The Name Clearance approval will come within 24 hours after the fee is paid and the status can be checked using the account created during the Name clearance application.

The next step in the process is the actual organization registration application. This application has to be submitted on paper along with all the required documents (and name clearance approval).

Keynotes:

  • This process is based on  THE SOCIETIES REGISTRATION ACT, 1860 
  • registering with Bangladesh Joint Stock does not give permission to receive money from a foreign organization but can certainly receive from personal accounts.

Hope this information will help you to establish your own NGO, in case you need any legal support you may mail us on this regard. Mail Us @ [email protected]

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Rayhanul Islam

Legal activist & Practitioner - Editor - Researcher - Learner; A person who uses Logic & Law as his tool where psychology & Philosophy plays a role, he is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He works as a lawyer and promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. More @ rayhan.lawhelpbd.com E-Mail: [email protected] or Call: +88 01711-386146

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