GIS – 10 May 2017: Based on the new guidelines prepared by the National CSR Foundation, 235 project proposals from 156 NGOs, have been received by the closing date 2 May 2017, said the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong, on 9 May 2017 at the National Assembly.
The Minister was replying to a Parliamentary Question on the Corporate Social Responsibility and representations made by NGOs pertaining to their financial difficulties in maintaining the provision of services as well as proposed solutions.
According to Mr Wong, the Foundation had invited NGOs and non-profit making organisations to submit project proposals and, following representations from stakeholders, the closing date for submission of projects has been extended to 12 May 2017. The Foundation is currently processing applications which have already been received.
Minister Wong pointed out that eleven NGOs have made representations to his Ministry and the Foundation to the effect that they are facing financial difficulties to maintain their level of services. Government acknowledges the good work being undertaken by the NGOs and would like to provide them with all possible assistance so that they can continue their operations, he said.
The Minister recalled that this year, businesses are allowed to use 50% of their CSR funds according to their own CSR framework and that NGOs would continue to benefit from contributions from the private sector.
In addition, Mr Wong stated, Government provides direct financial support to NGOs yearly from the Government Budget. For the Fiscal Year 2015/2016, an amount of Rs 275 million was provided and for Fiscal Year 2016/2017 the total amounted to Rs 322 million.
Moreover, NGOs can seek funding of their projects under the Decentralised Cooperation Programme (DCP) which is a European Union funded initiative operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment.
The latest DCP initiative for a total amount of Rs 80 million has started in January 2016 and will last till October 2019. Under this initiative, a call for proposal was launched in August 2016 where grant of a maximum amount of Rs 4 million each will be funded. The award of the grant is expected by mid-June this year.
A new CSR Framework was announced in the Budget 2016/2017 with a view to ensuring greater transparency and better outcomes in the implementation of the CSR programmes whereby businesses would be required to contribute 50% of their CSR funds to the National CSR Foundation in 2017 and at least 75% in 2018. The remaining balance would be used by businesses to implement their CSR programmes according to their own CSR framework.
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