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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

New law regulates non-profit community groups in Dubai

The law prohibits any donation collection or advertising for fundraising activities without the consent of the Community Development Authority

Organisations in Dubai that carry out community development activities will now have to register with the Community Development Authority, who will be closely monitoring their financial resources.

A new law issued by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, aims to regulate all non-profit organisations that carry out community-based activities in the realms of education, health, art, social development and vocational skills.

The law prohibits any donation collection or advertising for fundraising activities through any media channels or social media platforms without the Authority’s permission.

Under the new law community groups cannot work with other associations or open branches outside the country without first registering with the Authority.

To register, community groups must meet certain criteria including having a headquarters and an executive board of at least ten members, including two Emiratis. The licenses are renewed annually.

The community associations will be required to deposit all cash in a bank account at a Dubai licensed local bank. And they must provide the Authority with the account information and notify them of any changes within 10 working days.

The money raised by the association can only be spent on the purposes behind its establishment but can invest excess cash after seeking permission from the Authority, reported the state news agency Wam.

Offenders face a fine between Dh500 and Dh100,000 and should the offence be repeated within a year, the fine will be doubled. In some instances their services could be suspended and the association closed down.

Stringent charity laws are already in place in the emirate can include penalties such as a fine of up to Dh10,000 and a year in jail if residents and companies knowingly or unwittingly embark on illegal fund-raising.

In 2015, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid prohibited the collection of donations or advertising of fund-raising campaigns through all forms of media in Dubai without obtaining prior written approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (Iacad), the second governmental body that oversees social responsibility initiatives.

The decree does not apply in Abu Dhabi or other emirates, however, as they have their own guidelines.

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