'Tk 150 crore spent on hotel bills in 6 months'
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 yesterday.
He was speaking to journalists following a meeting of the cabinet committee on law and order affairs held at the conference room of home ministry, reports BSS. Mozammel is the chairman of the newly formed cabinet committee.
Describing the scenario of aid agencies as “saddening”, the minister said, “They [agencies] spent only a quarter of the funds they received to alleviate the miseries of Rohingyas while most of the amount were spent to pay their hotel bills.”
“The cabinet committee has expressed its concern over the activities of NGOs…,” he said.
Haque asked the law enforcement agencies to submit a list of NGOs who were operating in Rohingya camps with an “ill motive”.
About the relocation process of 35,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char island, he said that Bhasan Char area has been made habitable, and it is Bangladesh's “internal matter” where the Rohigyas would be accommodated; foreigners should only look after the humanitarian aspects.
The Daily Star published a report titled “INGOs Spending on Rohingyas: Operations eating up a thick slice” on December 2, 2018, citing a study.
The study found that in some cases, the operational cost of international non-government organisations (INGO) 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.
Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST) conducted the study.
Around 3,000 registered and non-registered foreigners are working under INGOs in Cox's Bazar.
More or less, every foreign aid worker receives approximately Tk 25,000 as daily allowance, excluding their regular salary, according to COAST officials.
In 2018, donors received some USD 682 million, equivalent to some USD 3,284 per Rohingya family, while 75 percent projects of INGOs or UN agencies were being implemented through local or national NGOs, the study added.
The INGOs are also spending a huge amount on transportation.
The study also mentioned that the 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”.