NGOS pressed for additional funding and Government assistance to fight social scourges, during the Pre-Budget consultative meeting with the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, this afternoon, in the Lunch Room of the National Assembly, in Port Louis.
Issues discussed during the meeting also pertained to women empowerment; eradication of poverty; promotion of Bio-farming; and support to vulnerable groups. NGOs present today, comprised: National Social Inclusion Foundation(NSIF); Mauritius Council of Social Service (MACOSS), Association de Parents d'enfants Inadaptée de Maurice(APEIM); CARITAS; Centre de Solidarité pour une nouvelle Vie; Centre d'Education et de Développement pour les Enfants Mauricien (CEDEM);Prevention et Lutte contre le Sida (PILS); Muslim Educational Society; Adolescent Non-Formal Education Network (ANFEN); Arya Sabha Mauritius; Council of Religions; and Mauritius Wildlife Foundation.
In a statement after the meeting, the Conservation Director of Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mr VikashTatayah, accentuated on the need to include measures so as to further improve climate change as well as tackle the damages caused by the Covid-19. He appealed for the budget allocated to the conservation of wildlife and for the protection of environment be maintained.
The President of MACOSS, Mr Suraj Ray, and the President of CARITAS, Mrs Patricia Felicité, indicated that for the well-functioning of the society and the proper allocation of financial aid, NGOs and profit making organisations must be treated differently. They further stated that NGOs need to be given facilities such as free electricity and water in order to become financially sustainable.
A request for an increase in Government grant was made by the President of the Arya Sabha Mauritius, Mr Harrydev Ramdhony. He also solicited Government's assistance for the training of staffs who manage old aged homes, handicapped Schools and women shelters.
For his part, the Secretary of the Council of Religions, Mr Bashir Nuckchady, called for the extension of the present financial aid for at least two years as the Corporate Social Responsibility funding they rely on is insufficient for the Council to function correctly.
The President of the Aaleemee Society, Mr Saheed Thupsee, recommended that the legal framework of NGOs be reviewed in order to filter the level of aid that each NGO requires and highlighted the need for the empowerment of women as well as the need to developself sufficiency in terms of social entrepreneurship in order to survive post Covid-19 crisis.
On the other hand, the President of CEDEM, Mrs Sehenaz Hossain Saeb, highlighted the need to innovate in terms of medical treatment for children. She also requested for a review of the budget allocation for special needs schools as well as specific training for professionals who work with the children of the CEDEM.