Тhe non-governmental sector are protesting against the cutting of public benefit projects of civil organizations, distributed by competition and non-transparent subsidization of national represented NGOs.
Mr. Boyko Borisov – Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria
Mr. Simeon Djankov – Minister of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria
Mr. Tomislav Donchev – Minister of EU Funds Management
Copy to: Ms. Rumyana Bachvarova – Head of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet
Subject: Fund’s removal in the budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2012 for public benefit projects of civil organizations distributed by competition
Dear Mr. Borisov,
Dear Mr. Dyankov,
Dear Mr. Donchev,
The Draft Law on the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2012 does not foresee a reserve of funds for financing projects of non-governmental organizations for public benefit (in 2011, these funds were BGN 750,000), although subsidies provided directly to specific organizations have been increased compared to 2011. This eliminates the practice of allocating part of the grants to non-governmental organizations working for the public benefit on a competitive basis. The adopted text is in complete contradiction with the recommendations in the Evaluation of the Mechanism for allocation of funds from the budget of the Republic of Bulgaria, intended for NGOs, prepared by an expert team in early 2011, which has been sent also to the Ministry of Finance.
We enclose for your information a summary of the main findings and recommendations of the report. If you are interested, we can also send its full text, which you can download from BCNL.
The evaluation offers four scenarios for changes in state subsidies to NGOs. Two of the scenarios propose the elimination of direct subsidies and the providing of funds only through competition, while the other two involve a change in the ratio between direct subsidies and competitive financing (in 2011 the share of competitive financing in the total budget is 7%).
The elimination of funds for public benefits projects to be selected on a competitive basis is also contrary to the overall policy of the government to spend the limited budget funds as transparently and efficiently as possible (which results can be given in a transparent and well-organized competition). Some of the criteria for evaluating projects last year were:
· The effectiveness of the activities proposed, in view of the expected results and the impact on the target groups;
· Sustainability of results;
· Cost effectiveness.
We strongly state, that the change made contradicts the analysis of the budget’s subsidization of non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria. The change sends a very negative signal about the attitude of the Bulgarian government towards the transparent spending of budget funds. It would show a complete disregard for the opinion of civil organizations. This solution was also proposed without any public consultation or public consultation with civil organizations.
With this proposal, Bulgaria runs behind countries such as Hungary, Croatia, Estonia and Albania, which foresee special measures for financing and supporting civil society.
As the state’s reluctance to cease direct subsidization of non-governmental organizations and to switch to full competitive funding is evident, we insist on:
– Maintaining the funds in the budget for 2012 for the competitive financing of NGOs’ public benefit projects. The share of these funds should be at least 20% of the total subsidy for NGOs, and at least BGN 2 million of the pledged over BGN 10 million;
– Keeping these funds in long term, with the tendency to be predominantly competitive;
– Full transparency in the definition of subsidies to NGOs and their use.
Our request has already been supported by over 100 organizations and citizens across the country, and their numbers continue to grow. Our proposals will be announced at a press conference, which will be held on 13.11.2011 at 12.00 in the press club of BTA. We are enclosing a list of organizations, that support our request.
With this letter, we express our readiness for a meeting to discuss concrete steps regarding the state funding of NGOs, as well as ideas for formulating a clear state policy towards the civil sector.
Our contact person is Lyuben Panov, telephone 02/981 66 17, 0888 89 70 42, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waiting for your reply,
Bulgarian Donation Forum
Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law
National Children’s Network
Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation
Center for Independent Living
Center for Inclusive Education