Civil Society Bahamas (CSB) has put forward recommendations for further amendments to the Non-Profit Organisations Bill, 2019, that was passed in the House of Assembly yesterday.
That bill outlines several changes to the original Non-Profit Organisations Bill, 2018, which was passed in the House of Assembly in December, but revised in the Senate and passed on Friday after widespread concern from religious and civil society organizations.
The Non-Profit Organisations Bill, 2019, is expected to be passed in the Senate by July 29.
CSB, which consulted with 33 non-profit organizations (NPOs) on the revised bill, also called for the attorney general to further clarify whether associations formed under the Friendly Societies Act, co-operatives and subgroups within church groups – like youth groups, men’s groups and women’s groups – need to be registered as NPOs.
The organization pointed to five areas it believes could be strengthened in the bill, including the appointment of an advisory council made up of NPO representatives; the provision of opportunities for groups to informally organize on a short-term basis for specific charitable purposes; common standards and declarations for all NPOs regardless of size and orientation; and the consideration of entry-level incentives to NPOs that are registered.
“These could be financial, such as a reduction in business license fees for companies that make a donation of $5,000 or more; or operational, such as priority consideration for Crown Land. This would support even smaller groups in maintaining compliance and standards,” CSB recommended in the report that was sent to the attorney general.
“These, along with our other recommendations, rise from a dual aim to responsibly regulate the sector, while also fostering sustainable growth among NPOs to have a greater impact on national development.