A detailed register of NGOs has launched in Slovakia, in a bid to bring more transparency to the sector.
The register, launched on 1 January 2019, will enable more comprehensive data on non-governmental non-profit organisations to be collected. It was proposed last year by the country’s Interior Minister Denisa Saková and created under the NGO Registry Act, which was passed in Parliament on 23 October.
The Ministry had put forward the bill as a solution to the lack of information that had been available on the country’s NGOs. Previously there had been limited legal requirements to record data on non-profit organisations. This register is publicly available, and collects a wide range of information, from basic contact information to legal status, and information on an organisation’s founders, aims, size, and dates of operation.
The Ministry said that the register would serve as a “unified and data-consistent source of information on civil associations, labour organisations, employer organisations, organisations with an international element, non-profit organisations that provide public services, foundations and non-investment funds”.
The Slovak Fundraising Centre has said that it sees the new Act as a positive move but questions the depth of information required on individuals.
Eduard Marček, chair of the Centre commented:
“This is a good step forward as it will make more data on Slovak NGOs available to the public and thus bring more transparency to the NGO sector, in a similar way to the country’s commercial Code, which provides the business community with data on companies. However, it is possible that some of the data required, such as birthdays and personal identification numbers, may step over the GDPR privacy level, so it will be up to NGOs or other entities to take action against the regulator if they find the requirements are too intrusive.”
The register is compulsory for all NGOs, and organisations now have six months to submit any missing information to the Interior Ministry free of charge. After the end of June this year, any changes will incur a fee, while only those organisations that have supplied all the necessary information will be eligible to apply for public funds and subsidies, as well as funding from the country’s percentage income tax system, which allows some corporations to designate a percentage of their income tax for charitable purposes.
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