Federal funds for social NGOs
Support programme for NGOs sets aside 2,880,000,000 roubles
The 2013-2015 Federal budget includes provisions for the ‘Programme to support socially-oriented non-commercial organisations’, Mikhail Abyzov, the Minister for communications with the Open government, stated during the conference on ‘Government politics to support socially-oriented NGOs’ at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. It is planned to allocate 930,000,000 roubles with 630,000,000 to co-finance regional programmes; increasing in 2014 and 2015 to 960,000,000 and 990,000,000 respectively (with 660,000,000 and 690,000,000 respectively for regional programmes).
In addition, the Ministry for Economic Development and the Ministry for Finance have to develop and implement, by 20 January, measures ‘aimed at increasing support for socially-oriented NGOs up to 2018’. The assignment was signed by Olga Golodets, deputy Prime Minister overseeing social issues. A similar requirement was contained in the Order issued by President Vladimir Putin on activities for the implementation of the government social policy dated 7 May 2012. For the purposes of ‘further improving government social policy’, he required the Russian government to include measures ‘aimed at increasing support to socially-oriented NGOs’ from 2013.
Pavel Gamolsky, Chairman of the co-ordination council of the NGOs’ Bookkeepers’ and Auditors’ Association, hopes the government will not forget the development of the non-commercial sector and non-financial help. For example, from 2013, managers of all non-for-profit organisations lose the right to manage their own accounts. For these purposes they would have to employ an accountant, even if the organisation consists of one employee. In addition, the right of NGOs that did not have to keep accounting records or submit a statement of accounts under a simplified tax system has been abolished.
According to information received by ASI from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry has already prepared amendments to legislation aimed at minimising the consequences of the amended Act ‘On accounting’ for NGOs, and align their rights with those of small and medium-sized businesses. Should the amendments be accepted, NGO managers would be able to keep accounting records themselves and submit simplified financial statements. The proposed legislation is being considered by the Russian government.
Elena Topoleva, Chair of the Civic Chamber on social policy, employment relations and quality of life, stressed the importance of working closely with NGOs. She stresses that it is no less important to develop a system of involving NGOs in the social services provision than to subsidise them.