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Top donor agency in financial straits

August 09, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Aug 9: Trust for Voluntary Organisation (TVO), one of the top donor organisations of the country, is on the verge of collapse because of high operational costs of office-bearers.

According to documents available with Dawn, TVO Organisation, a grant making facility jointly funded by the US and the government of Pakistan is gradually dying.

TVO was established in 1988, under a Special Development Fund (SDF) agreement with US government which provided $30 million while the Pakistan government Rs520 million.

Currently, TVO’s endowment size is Rs821.77 million with an annual income of Rs90 million out of which its overhead expense amount to Rs70 million and it is left with a meagre amount of Rs20 million for development assistance.

Insiders told Dawn that due to rising operation costs and a sharp decrease in its development assistance, TVO has lost its credibility in the donor community and now its board members and office-bearers are ready to distribute its entire endowment fund among their own: non-government organisations (NGOs).

The sources said that board members in order to implement their plan recently terminated the services of chief operating officer of TVO because he wanted to make public the evaluation report of the organisation.

According to documents, the organisation was previously run by prominent personalities like Nusrat Bhutto and Begum Zari Sarfaraz with the assistance of a board comprising 10 private sector members and two ex-officio members from the finance ministry and economic affairs division to be appointed by the prime minister.

The curriculum vitae of the incumbent chairman TVO Sajjad Hussain, however, shows that he started his career as information secretary of PPP from Sargodha city, where he is also running a food outlet.

Hussain told Dawn that he is doing his best to overcome the problem being faced by the organisation. He said his appointment was done in accordance with the law and he is an elected representative of 10 private members, which were appointed by the prime minister.

He said neither any member nor the chairman get any salary from TVO fund and their participation is voluntary.

Former CEO of the organisation Fayyaz Baqir, who was removed for preparing the evaluation report, told Dawn that despite the voluntary participation of the members, they are earning millions of rupees from the grant making facility.

He said the members not only get thousands of rupees for attending meetings but also get millions of rupees for their NGOs for different projects. I decided to curtail the operational cost within the prescribed limit of 25 per cent but it disturbed the bountiful lifestyle of the members and they turned hostile towards me, he added.

He claimed that the preparation of evaluation report proved to be the last nail in the coffin as it exposed the financial wrongdoings of the office bearers and they left with no option than to terminate my contract.