Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

INGOs must explain the allegation of misusing relief funds

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FOREIGN agencies working for Rohingyas spent Tk 150 crore on hotel bills in the last six months, whereas they have spent no more than 25 percent of total aid for the refugees, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said on Wednesday.
Earlier, a study had found that in some cases, the operational cost of international non-government organisations (INGOs) in Cox's Bazar was five times higher than the programme requirement, a problem compounded by a lack of transparency in INGOs' operational cost expenditure.
In 2018, donors received some USD 682 million, equivalent to some USD 3,284 for each Rohingya family, while 75 percent projects of INGOs or UN agencies were being implemented through local or national NGOs. The INGOs are also spending a huge amount on transportation. The study said that daily movement of some 545-575 cars from Cox's Bazar to Rohingya camps had not only increased expenditure, but also "forced local children to stop going to schools".
About the relocation process of 35,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char Island, the Minister said Bhasan Char area has been made habitable, and it is Bangladesh's "internal matter" where the Rohingyas would be accommodated; foreigners should only look after the humanitarian aspects.
It must be looked into as to why only 25 percent of the total aid allocation to Rohingyas has been spent while the INGOs are spending hundreds of crores in hotel bills etc. This allegation must be explained in clear terms. We know that without the help and cooperation of the INGOs foreign donations will not be easily available. But they must cut down on the cost of their services to the refugees from Myanmar.
We also do not want that the refugees continue to linger their stay and the international community's meaningful help will be to force Myanmar to take back their people from Bangladesh. Despite the best efforts of all the fact remains that they are living a miserably shattered life.

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