Representatives of SCOs discuss possibilities of benefitting from 2% mechanism

The civil society organizations (SCOs) in Moldova 80% depend on external donations. To become less vulnerable, stimulating mechanisms should be developed, such as social contracting or social entrepreneurship. In a forum centering on the financial sustainability of SCOs held on February 28, the participants discussed the mechanism by which citizens can transfer 2% of the paid income tax to these organizations, IPN reports.

Executive director of the public association “Woman and Child – Protection and Support” Victoria Secu said the impact of the activity of SCOs is increasingly felt amid the society democratization efforts. These organizations reveal problems of public interest, underlining the needs of the people and their rights. The SCOs take part in the decision-making process and monitoring of the implementation of public policies, but are vulnerable in terms of financial sustainability.

“The percentage designation mechanism contributes to ensuring the financial sustainability, but does not contain the function of making society responsible so that the people support community initiatives. A lot of effort is needed to educate the community to be responsible, to show civic activism. We should unite based on different platforms as more voices are heard better,” stated Victoria Secu.

Igor Meriacre, executive director of the public association “Motivatie”, said it is important to make clear how the civil society organizations attract funds. Even if these now work mainly based on foreign funds, there is potential at the local level too. “The 2% mechanism is good, but should be developed,” considers Igor Meriacre.

Alexandrina Kulchitski, head of the Justice Ministry’s Noncommercial Organizations Division, noted that to be put on the list of beneficiaries of the 2% mechanism, the SCOs should first submit an application to the Ministry of Justice. The list is transmitted to the State Tax Service. In 2016, which was the first year of implementation of the given law, the list included 414 civil society organizations and 72 religious entities. In 2017, the figures decreased to 107 and, respectively, 12 beneficiaries. This shows that more intense communication is needed on this subject.

Scott Depies, Manager of the Democracy and Good Governance Program at USAID Moldova, said that civil society of Moldova during the past three years has become an important player in society. The 2% law brings substantial benefits to the functioning of SCOs. However, their financial vulnerability continues to be the main problem they face. “Civil society should assume new roles and should fill the gaps, while the organizations should have access to national, private and public support,” stated Scott Depies.

In 2016, 21,000 taxpayers or 11% of all those who submitted tax returns used the percentage designation mechanism. Of the total number, only 16,000 applications to transfer 2% were accepted, the transferred sum amounting to 2.8 million lei. Among the most often causes for the non-validation of transfers are the identification of debts of taxpayers and incorrect indication of beneficiaries. The highest sum transferred by a taxpayer was of over 7,000 lei.

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