TIB has said that the NGOs are even less transparent than the GOB. Many GOB officials and those who are not fond of NGOs are happy. It is being implied that if the Government is bad, the NGOs who are always criticizing the GOB are worse.
We had done a small survey for the TIB on the “experience of corruption” and 89% of the respondents said that they encountered corruption when transacting with the GOB. So we went back to those 11% and asked about their experiences. They said that they considered paying money to get things done as “normal” and not “corruption”. So it’s normalized and assumed that anyone who deals and transacts with the public is corrupt. Institutions in general got the same negative answers which mean the public has less or no confidence in institutions, official or private.
Lack of transparency and corruption
TIB has become the most vocal opponent of official corruption in Bangladesh and their words really sting the Government. Every time their report comes out the GOB responds through abuse and allegations of “foreign funded” criticism. By now the TIB is used to it but the accused of corruption is not. However, corruption and lack of transparency now bear the same meaning and so most think that NGOs are corrupt also.
Public service is not considered a matter of rights. People assume that even to get the basic services, one has to make payments. Almost everyone has to interact with the GOB for one reason or another and that is when the corruption happens.
NGOs hardly deal with the public and nor with the scale of money the GOB deals with. The only sector would be micro-finance but while that has been criticized for rough loan return methods, they make very little corruption sense. The report also doesn’t make any reference to that.
But in no ways are NGOs transparent
The problem is with the management of the NGOs. It’s largely a closed semi-secret organization which runs on the basis of cronies. NGO jobs are hardly looked forward to in most cases except for international ones where the salary is high but most NGOs are local and they are run like families with a bossy dad at the top. As it happens when there is no regulatory supervision, such outfits are run arbitrarily. There is no one to answer to as the top bodies are all filled by “cronies” and it’s significant that most NGOs are known by the name of their founders and not any organizational identity.
NGOs need to do immensely better if they are going to survive in the coming future. As it is, Corona has shrunk the global kitty for donations and NGOs are either shutting down or laying off.
The survival of the sector itself is at stake. Amidst this situation, unless management and transparency and performance improves, NGOs face a whimpering end in not just Bangladesh but the world.