The Malta Council for Voluntary Sector is calling on the authorities to immediately suspend new regulations governing fundraising by NGOs and adopt recommendations made after the council's consultation with organisations.

Almost 200 organizations have complained that the rules, which are meant to tackle financial crime, were drafted without their consultation and risk tangling them in red tape.

MCVS deputy chairperson Robert Farrugia said the council had held four consultation webinars with NGOs before drawing up a report which will be presented to the Commissioner for the Voluntary Sector.

Farrugia said that while the council believed in greater transparency and accountability, some of the regulations do not make sense.

The measures, described as heavy handed by NGOs, were sprung in September and require the involvement of the Commissioner of Voluntary Organisations in a number of steps involved in raising funds.

Apart from having to apply for a permit, which expires after six months, NGOs wishing to use donation boxes for collections need to pick them up from the commissioner's office and then return them to count the money.

Envelopes containing donations require a warranted professional, such as a notary, to be present when the money is counted, and volunteers involved in collections also need to be registered.

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