Simplified rules for donations on way in Bahrain

An increase in electronic donations to good causes were also allowing the authorities to clamp down on unauthorised collections

Online payment. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Online payment. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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New easier rules covering charitable donations by registered community groups and institutions are set to be introduced before the start of Ramadan in April.

Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan said regulations needed to be reviewed continuously and simplified but had to still ensure unauthorised collections were outlawed.

“The number of collection permits given annually have doubled in recent years,” said Mr Humaidan.

“Last year, we issued 229 permits compared with just 99 in 2016.

“Permits that fall in line with our rules and regulations are being approved, even those with some missing aspects, we attempt to fix or adjust them accordingly.

”To ensure charitable endeavours run smoothly without bureaucratic interruption, he has introduced new procedures.

“For example, to save time and ensure there are no gaps in the collection work, new permits are issued even before the old permits have expired to ensure continuity, provided the cause remains the same.”

He said for large amounts given to societies by a single donor, the society can accept it directly without the ministry being involved in the process, as long as it was duly informed about the gift within seven days.

“Should we present no objections, it means the large donation is automatically approved,” he added.

In a move to prevent charitable work being stalled because of late payments or delayed collections, bank accounts were no longer being frozen unnecessarily, with the ministry stepping in to alert the Central Bank of Bahrain.

As a result 83 societies ‘who were facing a hard time’ were able to resume work, he added.

“We will also soon introduce special Ramadan permits for societies to start cash collections from now, well ahead of the holy month, while, for material and food aid donations, there would be no need to inform us about the fine details.”

However, he explained that in cases involving individuals collecting funds through electronic platforms, gatherings or at events, the security authorities would deal with them directly, without the ministry’s involvement.

An increase in electronic donations to good causes were also allowing the authorities to clamp down on unauthorised collections, ensuring all money raised goes to the intended recipient rather than in the back pocket of an unscrupulous bogus charity fundraiser.

In response to another question by MP Sayed Falah Hashim, Mr Humaidan said 465 private sector establishments – with 50 or more workers in one place – have formed vocational health and safety committees within their structures, with 95 per cent compliance to statutory rules in place.

Legal action is being taken against 23 out of 488 establishments who failed to meet the standards within a deadline issued.

Last year nine violations were recorded, with five failing to form committee structures and four for not naming responsible officers, compared to 12 violations in 2019.

Mr Humaidan said in another response to MP Yousif Al Thawadi that nearly 700 Bahrainis had their jobs saved in the wake of economic pressures caused by the pandemic.

“We had requests to dismiss 902 Bahrainis and only 212 were unfortunately let go due to financial circumstances caused by Covid-19, which led to company downsizing or full closure, while 694 had their jobs saved following our intervention,” he revealed.

“The employers involved had to present proof that Bahrainis were only being let go after all avenues to save their positions had been explored.”

One of the unlucky victims of the economic downturn, he revealed, was a Bahraini security guard who lost his job just three days after being honoured as his company’s ‘employee of the month’.

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