The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Legislation on public collections and charity shops for NGOs will be reviewed – Carmelo Abela

Jake Aquilina Monday, 3 May 2021, 17:39 Last update: about 8 days ago

The proposed legislation regarding public collections and charity shops will be reviewed to see whether it can be improved or scrapped, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela told Parliament. 

This comes after a group of NGOs teamed up together to form Volunteer Action Group (VAG) to call for the withdrawal and rethinking of the legislation on public collections and charity shops. Recently, they also said that they are going ahead with plans to tell the Council of Europe about the new ‘draconian’ fund raising rules.

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Robert Aquilina, from the Volontarjat Action Group and NGO Repubblika, described the new rules as a threat to the volunteering sector, a threat to the freedom of expression and a threat to the right to association.

“The bill is under review so that then we see what we can do to improve it where need be,” the Minister said.

He criticised the Opposition for not challenging the Bill officially as they have the ability to do so in Parliament.

“We will look at the draft so that we can make the laws better,” he said.

He also remarked that although this field in society was always quite professional, it seems to be improving with every passing year. “This sector is becoming more sophisticated and professional, and this is good to see.” 

Earlier on, PN MP Claudette Buttigieg said that the Government needs to be more careful in the way it handles and treats NGOs.

“These NGOs have a sour taste of what the government did in the last few months,” the MP remarked.

“Last week, 2 NGOs told us that the legal notices that the Government came up with showed a lack of trust in them.”

Buttigieg also remarked that she sent questions about the Marigold Foundation, which although she “doesn’t have a doubt that they do good things to help people”, she hoped that she will be answered regarding questions she sent on the foundation.

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