Report: Nonprofits get state money without supervision or stating clear aims
The Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO) published its report on the financing of NGOs through state institutions on Tuesday. The report shows that the lion’s share of state money reaches NGOs through different ministries, however not even the Ministry of Finance knows the actual sum that’s distributed.
Daily Eesti Päevaleht (link in Estonian) wrote that though the exact amount of money making it into the coffers of various nonprofit organizations was not known, it was estimated to be anywhere between €60m and €100m.
According to the report, the biggest issue is the lack of clarity formulating the different organizations’ aims. At the same time none of the ministries have clear policies in place to support or professionalize these organizations.
The report also showed that the process of assessing and financing different organizations was lacking in transparency. There was no assessment at all of results or added value created, and no overview of the financing of NGOs available at all, it stated.
Support for various institutions and NGOs has grown with every year. They have developed across different activities and categories of public administration as well, such as local governments, ministries, and foundations that belong to the public sector.
The report criticized the tendency to stuff holes in ministries’ budgets by draining gambling tax money and reallocating it to their own nonprofits and foundations. It also stated that the way the gambling tax supervisory board ran its tasks was less than transparent, and that it was highly politicized.
Last year 58% of all financial support for NGOs came out of the gambling tax supervisory board’s accounts, amounting to more than €9m.
The Ministry of Justice performed the worst, with the report stating that the way it handled the financing of NGOs didn’t correspond to professional principles in that particular area.
Press spokeswoman of the ministry, Maria-Elisa Tuulik, said that the ministry’s freedom of movement was only very small, as the support it could possibly pay was pre-defined by the state budget. Also, the ministry so far hadn’t seen the need to come up with a policy of its own in the matter.