Saturday, April 14, 2007

How to create an NGO in Moldova!

The Law of the Republic of Moldova on public associations. Nr.837 from 17.05.96

Official monitory of the R. Moldova nr.6/54 from 23.01.1997.

I will start with a definition of a public association (this is the notion given for the NGO’s in the legal acts of the Republic of Moldova). A public association is a voluntary system, independent, self-controlled, made up due to the free manifestation of the will of the associate citizens, basing on their collective interests. The aim of a public association is to serve the social interests, civil rights, economical, social and cultural, which doesn’t have the goal to get economical profit.

Public associations represent community movements, peaceful organizations which protect the human rights, women organizations, veterans’ organizations, for kids, for youth, scientifically, cultural, sportive organizations etc.

An NGO can be started at the will of at least three people. This means that an NGO should have at least 3 members/citizens or more juridical persons. Foreign citizens can fond or can be a member of an NGO on the same basis as the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, but they can’t be chairpersons of public association, or members of control and auditing bodies. Also not less than a half of the members of a foundation council must be citizens of Moldova.

In the article 5 (1) of LPA, associations can be founded in one of the following organizational-legal forms:

Public movement (association of natural and/or legal persons (public associations only) that do not have a fixed membership);

Public organization (membership association of natural and/or legal persons (public associations only), based on a fix membership, founded for the common activity in order to achieve the objectives and goals of the Statute, as well as the protection of their common interests);

Public institution (union of citizens without fixed membership, created to perform certain services, works in the interests of its participants and in order to achieve the Statute goals).

There is also another distinction - the existence of associations and foundations pursuing activities of public benefit and the ones pursuing mutual benefit.

In order to be registered and organization must have the following documents: an application, signed by all members of a managing body together with their place of residence; two copies of statute; two copies of a protocol of a founding convention (conference) or general meeting, which approved a statute of a public association.(A protocol shall contain information on establishing a public association, on approval of its statute, on election of directing and control/auditing bodies); information about founders of a public association: for natural entities - family name, first name, year of birth, place of residence, citizenship (to be attested by their signatures); for a public association - a copy of certificate of state registration of a statute of this association, an extract from a protocol of a meeting of an authorized directing body of a public association with a decision to establish a new public association, and a copy of founding agreement in case of establishing a public institution or a union (association) of public associations; a statement of a citizen, or in case he is dead - a statement of his relatives on an agreement to use a personal name of the citizen in a name of a public association; a decision of a supreme body of a public association on vesting a directing or executive body with right to represent the association in a process of registration; a document, confirming the location of a public association; a bank document, confirming a payment of a registration fee. After the presentation of all of these documents the organization is being registered. They also receive the necessary documentation, certificates which can prove their legality.

From this moment the organization has the right to start its activity on legal basis. A public association can have its productive-economic and other entrepreneur activity exclusively for the realization of objectives and goals specified in its Statute.

An NGO can possess any patrimony (enterprises, institutions, buildings etc.) that it needs for its activity, besides the one which can belong only to the state.

Also there are several conditions that an organization should meet:

  1. organizational and legal form of the association;
  2. name of the association;
  3. legal address of the association and territory, within the limits of which it executes its activity;
  4. goals and objectives of the associations, methods of achieving them; a period, for which the public association is to be established;
  5. terms and procedures of enrolment into membership of the association and leaving it (upon fixed membership);
  6. rights and duties of the public association members (if a fixed membership takes place);
  7. structure of the public association, a procedure of its founding; exact names, structures, competence and terms of powers of governing, executive and control/auditing bodies of the association, their place of location;
  8. procedure of statute approval and making amendments;
  9. sources, procedure of formation and usage of property and other assets; membership fees amount (if a fixed membership takes place); a body, competent to make decisions on procurement, distribution and disposal of property;
  10. procedure and terms of convocations of general meetings, conferences, congresses;
  11. forms of participation of the public association in affairs of society and state;
  12. procedure of formation, status, structure and methods of activity of primary organizations of the public associations;
  13. main parameters of financial report and a way of its publications;
  14. Procedure of reorganization and termination of activity of the public association.

About the taxation - public associations and foundations are not entitled to VAT privileges. There are some exceptions like intergovernmental agreements. Public associations are exempted from custom duties and other taxes concerning the export-import operations which come through intergovernmental agreements of technical assistance (this specifically refers to World Bank, TACIS, and USAID). Still they have to pay taxes. But there some exceptions - Ministry of Finance recognize as being eligible for income tax exemptions only public benefit associations and foundations. But the organization has to meet some conditions: they have to prove that represent a non-commercial organization and also that the property of the organization is not distributed between the members; the entire income from the bylaws activity is spend to pursue bylaw goals; the property or the income shouldn’t be used in the favor of the member or founder; shouldn’t support any political party. Also there is created a special list of the NGO’s which don’t have to pay taxes. They can receive donations and grants for the realization of their purposes.

This is the modality of forming and creating an NGO. It is not an uneasy one but only that way the state can control an organization. Because of the fact that the Republic of Moldova needs a huge number of NGO’s which will help its development, many people are acting with bad faith. Some people try to take advantage of the NGO’s and uses the funds of it in their own purposes, or don’t pay the taxes and escape from the legal responsibility.

1 comment:

Peter Myers said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I didn't want to read the boring legal talk in the statut that I had downloaded. My name is Peter, and I am a former Peace Corps volunteer who would like to help start an NGO in Moldova. I'm sure you have much more good advice, so please e-mail me at pmyers42@gmail.com and introduce yourself.

Thank you.
- Peter