Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said its executive committee will engage Ministry of Justice on the registration challenges faced by non-governmental organisations (NGO) under the Trustee Incorporation Act.
Before they start operations, NGOs in Malawi are required to register under the Act which, under normal circumstances, takes an average of two to three years.
This leaves many organisation’s opting to register under the hassle free Companies Act.
In an interview on the sidelines of a public lecture on wills and trusts the society organised in Mzuzu on Thursday night, one of its members who made a presentation on ‘how to make a will’, Chikosa Silungwe, said the process of registering a trust is quite lengthy.
“But as MLS, our executive committee will engage the relevant officers in the ministry to see how the matter can be resolved,” said Silungwe.
In his presentation, Mwiza Nkhata, MLS vice-president who is also an associate professor of law at Chancellor College, said even though it takes two to three years to register an NGO in Malawi, it takes a month for people who have connections to register their organisations.
He said if interested parties have complied with the formalities for setting up an organisation, the law should facilitate the process not hindering it as is the case now.
“The fact that the registration process is too complicated means that some might be operating without being properly registered. If you have systems that are not working properly, it prompts people to do shortcuts,” said Nkhata.
He said the delay occurs at the ministry where the office of the Registrar General submits all documents for approval.
“From my own experience that is where the delay is because in the normal course of events it might take some two to three years if you will at all get your certificate. In my understanding “It is tedious and lengthy to register an NGO in Malawi,” said Nkhata.
Executive director of Church and Society Livingstonia CCAP Synod, Moses Mkandawire, said to avoid the lengthy process most NGOs register under the Companies Act.
Under the Act, NGOs register through the Registrar General’s office where they submit all documents including their constitution and if everything is in order, the documents are forwarded to the Ministry of Justice in Lilongwe for approval.