In Bangladesh, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) can be multi-headed creatures. They can be schools, banks, universities, telecoms companies - you name it, you will find an NGO doing it. It turns out NGOs have been exploiting certain regulatory loop holes to do their stuff. The World Bank has put together a much needed review of the NGO sector in Bangladesh. One aspect of the report deals with the commerical operations of non-governmental organisations and suggests that they should stop exploiting their not-for-profit status to subsidise their commercial operations and also be subjected to taxes for their for-profit business ventures.

They (NGOs) should not be allowed to use subsidised capital to enter or operate businesses, and that they should pay taxes on their for-profit activities at the same rate as other businesses.

The lack of taxes and financial accountability has no doubt helped this sector enormously. I wonder how Grameen and BRAC - the two market leaders - will respond to issues of accountability, taxation and indeed this matter of a level playing field?

Another old issue which has come under attention is the involvement of NGOs in outright political activity as opposed to advocacy. Mr Yunus you have your work cut out.