Sun, 27 Mar 2022 - 01:18 GMT
Sun, 27 Mar 2022 - 01:18 GMT
CAIRO – 27 March 2022: The Senate has agreed to extend the deadline for NGOs to register under the 2019 civil society law for another year on Sunday.
Although the law was issued in 2019, it was enforced in January 2021, and the original deadline was January 2022. However, representatives argued that it was difficult for NGOs to register during the past year because of Covid-19.
Nevertheless, more than 26,000 civil society associations applied to register per the new law during 2021.
Regarding foreign grants, once an application is submitted to the administrative authority and after 60 days have passed without objection, it is considered an approval to receive grants, with the administrative authority obligating the applicant to provide a letter stating the approval of the grants.
NGOs and foundations will then have the right to establish profit-making companies with the aim of maximizing resources to spend on the activities of the association to serve the civil work and to ensure the continuity of the activities of the association
This comes at a time when the Minister of Social Solidarity, Dr. Nevin Al-Kabbaj, confirmed that the issuance of the executive regulations of the Civil Work Organization Law No. 149 of 2019 came after a long wait to fairly express the unique privileges that the law holds for NGOs.
The law also included articles to support freedom of volunteering, accountability, work governance and procedures.
Dr. Talaat Abdel Kawy, the head of the General Federation of NGOs and Associations, confirmed that the number of associations and institutions that have applied to regularize their status according to the new regulation is approximately 26,000 associations and civil institutions so far out of a total of nearly 52 thousand associations, pointing out that the Associations Law provided many advantages for civil society
Abdel-Qawy added that after the end of the period for reconciling the status of NGOs with the one scheduled for them until next January, NGOs that refuse to reconcile their statuses with the law will be dissolved through the judiciary, as the administrative authority will refer these associations to the judiciary to dissolve them in accordance with the law, except in the event of an amendment Legislative to extend the period of reconciliation.
Below are some of the most important facts about the NGO law:
- The law came as a result of a 6-year discussions and community dialogue, which included topics on associations, unions, and the Ministry of Solidarity and Civil Society.
- The new law abolishes imprisonment as a punishment.
- Canceling the supervising over foreign organizations operating in Egypt.
- Allowing NGOs to receive foreign funding, on condition of informing the administrative authorities (as a routine procedure).
- Easing the restrictions that were imposed in previous laws in order to establish new associations.
- Establishment of NGOs only by “notifying”.
- It would also allow up to 25% of organizations’ board of directors to be foreign residents, up from 10% under the old law.
- Foreign communities in Egypt are now allowed to establish their own association, according to the law.
- The law allows associations to establish companies and investment funds.
- Foreign funding of NGOs has been codified into the law with a specific and clear mechanism.
- Facilitating the work of foreign organizations in Egypt.
- The law has approved many benefits and exemptions for NGOs.
- Authorized the right to join foreign organizations and NGOs.
- Allowed the NGOs to open new branches outside Egypt according to specific regulations.
- The law sat a clear mechanism for establishing shelters for children and the elderly, (due to the significance of this matter).
- Facilitating the associations' access to funding within 60 days. The non-response during this period according to the new law is considered as approval, while previously, the non-response within 70 days was usually considered as rejection.
- Prohibition of the combination of the membership of the Board of Directors and working in the NGO administrative body, (to control corruption).
- Creating new chapter in the law to be organizing for the volunteering activity in addition to ensuring the protection of volunteers and beneficiaries.