Myanmar police fire stun grenades as Southeast Asian ministers aim for talks    COVID-19 pandemic fuels attacks on health workers globally    Military projectile fell in Saudi Arabia's Jazan, injured five civilians    Tennis: Murray feels like playing for his career in every match    Johnson backs UK bid for 2030 World Cup, offers stadiums for Euro 2020 games    Egyptian Premier League fixtures (15th matchday)    Nigerian governor says 279 kidnapped schoolgirls are freed    Chinese vaccines sweep much of the world, despite concerns    Kuwaiti cabinet proposes new amendments to debt law, MP says    Beltone Financial Holding's loss widens 45% in 2020    Saudia plans to order 70 Airbus, Boeing jets: Report    FACTBOX: Key winners at the 2021 Golden Globes    Enhanced Labs signs Mr. Olympia 2020 "Big Ramy" And His Trainer Dennis James    Syria begins COVID-19 vaccinations with healthcare workers    EFG Hermes starts 3rd round of its Virtual Investor Conference    Even more chaotic than usual, Golden Globes still had their moments    EFG Hermes KSA completes advisory on Alkhorayef Water & Power Technologies' $ 144 mn IPO    State keen on completing Nile water quality improvement projects in 2 years: Egypt PM    Egyptian actress Ahlam El-Geretly dies at age 73    1st hours of registration for coronavirus vaccine seen 7,000 Egyptians signing up: ministry    Second coronavirus wave in Egypt more serious, widespread: statistics authority    Egypt lifts ban on Ramadan's Taraweeh prayers in some mosques coronavirus continues for a 2nd year    Egypt briefs Arab, European ambassadors on developments in GERD dispute    Eschewing the radical    Senate prepares for its first session    King Tutankhamun funerary mask is must-see tourist icon: The Telegraph    Russian flights to return to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada for first time since 2015    Australia slams Facebook's move to block news as unnecessary and heavy-handed    Sisi calls on securing fair access to coronavirus vaccines for African nations    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

New NGO law in force
Published in Ahram Online on 19 - 01 - 2021

Two months after the cabinet approved the executive regulations of Law 149/2019, ratified by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in August, the regulations have been published. The law replaces legislation issued in 2017 which was heavily criticised by civil society locally and internationally for restricting the work of NGOs.
The new law and its executive regulations are a result of a process of consultation between different stakeholders, including the ministries of justice, solidarity and interior, the General Federation of Non-governmental Organisations in Egypt, the National Council of Human Rights, public figures, research centres and representatives from 1,164 local NGOs.
The consultations were based on a study of international best practice, with an eye on broadening the role and activities of NGOs in Egypt. The dialogue concluded that the relationship between state and civil society needed redrawing based on the basis of partnership and greater mutual trust.
While the regulations require NGOs to provide extensive data to register with the authorities, including information on founders and planned activities, the new law removed obstacles to the establishment of NGOs contained in the earlier law 70/2017. Section one of the new law allows NGOs to be established following notification, dispensing with the 60-day delay that previously applied, and exempts the newly established entity from registration fees, customs and real estate taxes.
The law places a 25 per cent cap on the number of non-Egyptian directors on the board of NGOs, up from 10 per cent in its predecessor, allowing for greater foreign involvement in civil society.
Licensing a foreign NGO requires Foreign Ministry approval. Egyptian NGOs, however, are allowed to open offices in other countries and receive donor funds. Such funds are restricted to a single bank account, making it easier to track the funding and its sources, except in the case of NGOs with annual revenues and expenses of more than LE5 million, when multiple accounts can be used.
It is estimated that 700 NGOs in Egypt receive external funding from non-governmental institutions such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In order to receive foreign funds NGOs must notify the Ministry of Social Solidarity and demonstrate compliance with combating terrorism and money laundering legislation. The new law mandates a 60-day period, down from 90, for any approval decision on foreign funding, and considers non-response within 60 days as implicit approval.
Existing NGOs have been granted a year to comply with the new regulations.
Between 2014 and 2016 there were several crackdowns on foreign-funded NGOs working in Egypt due to lack of information about their sources of funding. A number of NGOs were closed, their assets frozen, and some personnel jailed. The new act includes provisions to dissolve associations and prosecute those found in breach of the relevant laws, though custodial sentences have been replaced by financial penalties.
There are likely to be structural impediments to implementing the new law. The requirement that all donations be in the form of bank transfers is expected to cause problems given the deficiencies in local Fintech infrastructure.
On the whole, though the new executive regulations of civil society act dealt with deficiencies and shortcoming in the previous act of 2017 and highlight the importance of organising NGOs' activities in Egypt and paving the way before them to carry out in a healthy partnership with the state their needed efforts for the social and political good of the whole society.
NGOs working in Egypt are banned by the new law from engaging in political activities.

The writer is a researcher at the Egyptian Centre for Strategic Studies.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 21 January, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

Clic here to read the story from its source.