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NGOs to benefit from new mechanism

Eight non-government organisations (NGO) operating in the Sultanate for special needs individuals stand to benefit from a newly introduced facility enabling government servants to make contributions to NGOs through salary deductions.


The heads of four non-government organisations, Hj Abdul Alim Othman (left), Awang Hj Abd Hakim bin Hj Md Yassin, Hj Abd Hamid Maaruf and Awang Mohd Jamary Danggat expressed their approval of the new measure.

Acting Assistant Director of Community Development, Haji Awang Ahad bin Hj Hassan, speaks at the event.

Some of the MoF staff at the roadshow. - PHOTOS: JAMES KON

The NGOs include Persatuan Kanak Kanak Cacat (KACA), Pusat Ehsan, Paraplegic And Physically Disabled Association (PAPDA), Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER), Learning Ladders Society (LLS), Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind, Brunei Darussalam Special Olympics and Brunei Darussalam Hearing Impaired Association.

Yesterday a roadshow introducing the new facility was held at the Ministry of Finance for officers and staff of the ministry to gain an insight on the provision of making contributions to NGOs.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Managing Director of KACA Centre, Hj Abdul Alim Othman, said, "It's a good facility introduced by the Government of His Majesty to channel donations to each of the NGOs".

He added that currently, "KACA has three centres, which are located in the Brunei-Muara, Tutong and Belait Districts, in which there are currently over 500 members of KACA.
"Since its establishment 25 years ago, KACA has been able to sustain its operations due to the generosity of the public as well as volunteers, however there is a need to construct a new and bigger facility for the growing number of special needs children. Donations collected through the new facility will be a good source of funds to build a new centre"
Echoing the positive move, Pusat Ehsan's Head of Administration, Hj Abd Hamid Maaruf, said, "The new facility to channel donations for NGOs will definitely help lift some financial burdens and can also help supplement monthly expenses".

He revealed, "In Pusat Ehsan, the centre spends around $40,000 each month and around $480,000 a year. The new facility to collect contributions can help supplement the expenses."
President of Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind, Awang Mohd Jamary Danggat, also agreed with the comments of his counterparts, saying, "The fund can be used to purchase much-needed equipment like walking sticks for the blind and braille paper". He also expressed his hopes that the fund can be utilised to construct the new blind user-friendly building.

President of Brunei Darussalam Hearing Impaired Association, Awang Hj Abd Hakim bin Hj Md Yassin, said, "The fund can be used for construction of the long awaited building for our association, which was proposed to be in Kg Rimba. We really need the support of the public."

Acting Assistant Director of Community Development, Haji Awang Ahad bin Hj Hassan, in his presentation said that, "His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has stressed the need to provide assistance for special needs people in the country during his Titah delivered on His Majesty's 65th birthday. In line with His Majesty the Sultan's Titah is the promotion and encouragement of public participation in fulfilling a social responsibility towards the nation. The Treasury Department under the Ministry of Finance has prepared facilities whereby officers and staff of the government can make donations to special needs organisations."

He added, "His Majesty's Government has given permission to help these NGOs through financial assistance, consideration of applications of rendering financial assistance to certain NGOs whereby that assistance is limited to a percentage amount for operation expenditure, so that assistance for land, building design and construction costs will be borne by the respective association through the fund or their obtaining sponsorship."

He further highlighted, "Other assistance includes involving the Ministry of Development in identifying suitable sites and obtaining information, while the Ministry of Finance circulates a letter of announcement regarding the deduction of salaries, which can be transferred into accounts established for each of the NGOs."

Also present at the roadshow were the Principal of Community Development Department, Awang Md Nasrullah El-Hakiem bin Hj Awang Mohammed, heads of departments and divisions at the Ministry of Finance.