INGO Laws in Nepal: INGO Registration Process

A. INTRODUCTION TO INGO LAW

International Non-Governmental Organization (“INGO”) is a non-profit organization that must have the objective of conducting developmental, social, or welfare activities operating across national borders. Social Welfare Council (“SWC”) is the regulatory authority for INGO in Nepal.

B. GOVERNING LAWS

The main governing laws of INGO in Nepal similar to Laws governing NGOs:
i. Social Welfare Council Act 2049 (1992)
ii. SWC Regulations 2049 (1993).

In addition to the aforementioned Acts and Regulations, SWC issues several guidelines to regulate INGOs in Nepal.

C. PROCESS TO REGISTER AN INGO IN NEPAL

The following are the steps to register an INGO in Nepal:

Obtaining approval from SWC

An application shall be filed at SWC for the approval operation of local office of INGO. SWC shall provide a decision within 3 months upon receiving the application.

Agreement with SWC

After obtaining the approval, INGO is required to sign General Agreement with SWC. Subsequently, INGO must sign a Project Agreement within 3 months of signing of General Agreement.

D. TYPES OF AGREEMENT

General Agreement (“GA”)

The General Agreement is a bilateral agreement between INGO and SWC that serves as a main agreement forming the basis for the presence and operation of the INGO in Nepal. It comprises the following details:
i. Scope of work;
ii. Minimum amount of annual fund;
iii. Establishment of its office in Nepal; and
iv. Filing and reporting requirement at SWC.

The following are the documents that INGO need to submit to obtain approval for GA.
i. Application;
ii. Certificate of Registration (In its homeland);
iii. By-Laws (Approved Constitution)
(If by-Laws do not explain the objective clearly and authentic document to state its objectives is required in addition);
iv. Financial Commitment (minimum USD 2,00,000 per annum);
v. Concept paper/project proposal;
vi. Draft General Agreement (in the prescribed format);
vii. Letter of Authorization to deal the business of agreement;
viii. A Copy of Citizenship, Passport with valid Visa and Bio-data of the person who will be acting as Country Director of INGOs;
ix. Covering Letter; and
x. Reliable Funding Sources (the reliable funding source should substantiate the funding source of a minimum of USD 2,00,000).

The GA is concluded for a minimum period of 3 years and maximum period of 5 years. The GA is subject to renewal for its termination.
The following are the required documents for the renewal of GA:
i. Evaluation Report;
ii. General Agreement Draft;
iii. Audit Report;
iv. Commitment to Implement the Suggestion Prescribed by the Final Evaluation Report;
v. Annual Financial Commitment Letter;
vi. Progress Report;
vii. By-Laws / Certificate of Registration (In its homeland); and
viii. Concept Note.

Project Agreement (“PA”)

Project Agreement is a tripartite agreement between the INGO, Non- Governmental Organization (as the local partner), and the SWC which shall be entered into within three (3) months from the date of the signing GA.
The agreement comprises of the following:
i. Background;
ii. Objectives;
iii. Implementation process/ methodology;
iv. Monitoring plan; and
v. Budget estimate etc. of the projects that INGOs intent to operate.

If INGO fails to sign the Project Agreement within the prescribed period of time, it will result in the following consequences:
i. Invalidation of GA; or
ii. Cancellation of work permit visa of the representative of INGO.

Non-Compliance with GA and PA

If INGO fails to comply with either GA or PA, it may result in the following consequences:
i. Blacklisting;
ii. USD 1,000 will be levied on INGO desirous of entering into the project agreement after initially failing to do so within the prescribed time; and
iii. USD 2,000 will be levied on INGO desirous of entering into the General/Project Agreements after initially failing to perform the agreements.

D. Legal Compliances after registration of INGO

After the completion of registration process, an INGO needs to comply with the following post registration process:
i. Open a physical office in Nepal;
ii. Open a bank account in a commercial bank in Nepal. Further, shall deposit the amount of the Financial Commitment for the implementation of the project;
iii. Restricted to engage in any share investment in any profit motive institution;
iv. INGOs cannot spend more 20% of total funding in administrative cost;
v. Donate at least USD 2,00,000 per annum. The source of fund for INGOs should be injected from outside of Nepal;
vi. Submit audit report, to the SWC within the period of six months after the completion of fiscal year along with the detailed description of their work and activities;
vii. Report its activities once in every six months; and
viii. Submit an annual report citing administrative and program costs.

E. CLOSURE OF INGO IN NEPAL

INGO shall file an application to SWC for its closure. Prior to closure, INGO is required to clear all its liabilities. INGO will be officially closed after obtaining approval of SWC.

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