NGO Not to Depend on Government: State Council
Azerbaijan, Baku, 4 July / corr. Trend E.Babayev / Financing of projects of the Azerbaijani non-government organizations (NGO) by the government will not out them under the dependence of the authorities. "Any organization, struggling for its ideas and principles and setting a mission to serve the state and nation, cannot depend on either interior or foreign donors," Azay Guliyev, the chairman of the State Council of Support to the NGO at the President, told Trend on 3 July.
In December 2007 President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree to establish the State Council to Support the NGO at the Azerbaijani President. The formation of the Council was completed in April 2008 and the organization began its action. A total of AZN 1.5mln was allocated from the state budget for state aid to NGO in 2008. A small part of this amount will be spent to cover expenditure of the Council's secretariat, but the rest to finance projects of the NGO. The first grant competition, announced by the Council on 15 directions, finished on 2 July and currently, the projects presented at the competition are being examined. The NGO experts consider that aid, allocated by the Azerbaijani Government, will damage the independent activities of the NGO.
According to Guliyev, if any organization is inclined to dependence and strives for it, the source of its grant will not play an important role in this.
Guliyev said that the government assists its civil society institutes in different directions, including financial aid, in all developed countries. "A total of 50% of the NGO's annual budget are formed through the aid, allocated by the government, in the European countries and the United States. Annual turnover of the NGO amounted to €3.5mln, and 50% of it was the aid allocated by the government in Hungary in 2007. All of us are the citizens of this country and proud of it. If you mean any official and subjective interference, it is another issue. Such cases will be examined should they occur," he said. Guliyev noted that the opinion on the NGO's falling into dependence of the government in Azerbaijan was the most primitive approach. "They want to cast a shadow on the importance of the noble aid allocated by the government," Guliyev said.
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