Ministry of Social Affairs pays equality NGOs after funding row

Photo is illustrative.
Photo is illustrative. Source: Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Social Affairs on Tuesday paid funding to nonprofits promoting equality which the Ministry of Finance halted a week ago.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Affairs told BNS: "Payouts were executed this morning using proceeds from the gambling tax."

The Ministry of Finance on July 13 suspended the financing of projects in the field of equal opportunities and gender equality with money from the gambling tax via the State Shared Service Center.

The Ministry of Finance specifically said that, in its opinion, the State Shared Service Center as a state agency implementing subsidies cannot make payments from funds received from the gambling tax to projects that do not correspond to the areas specified in the Gambling Tax Act.

Consequently, the State Shared Service Center must suspend the disbursement of grants for the Estonian Women's Associations Roundtable's project "Together Towards a More Equal Society," the Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Center's (ENUT) project "ENUT and Partners Promote Gender Equality" and the Estonian Human Rights Center's project "Equal Opportunities in a Cohesive Society."

As the developer of the Gambling Tax Act, the Ministry of Finance agrees with the position expressed in the memorandum of the National Audit Office that the supported areas have been misinterpreted and therefore the proceeds of the gambling tax have been used for purposes not provided by law.

The Ministry of Finance does not consider it right that the Ministry of Social Affairs continues to use the budget funds received from the gambling tax for the wrong purpose on the grounds that the recipients have a legitimate expectation to receive support, Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Raul Siem (EKRE), in his capacity as the acting finance minister during Martin Helme's (EKRE) vacation, said.

ENUT, the Human Rights Centre and the Estonian Women's Associations Roundtable were expecting to receive close to €75,000 in funding. They should receive over €500,000 in state support by 2022.

Last week, the Ministry of Social Affairs ended its partnership with the State Shared Service Center, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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