New Regulations for Registration of Organisations
On 28 October 2022, the State Administration Council passed a new law on Organisation Registration (“OR 2022”) repealing the previous Registration of Organisation Law 2014 (“ROL 2014”). The newly released OR 2022 provides details on the registration procedures of organisation and additional provisions relating to administrative actions, prohibitions and penalties.
Under the OR 2022, “Organisation” is defined as:
- Domestic organisation refers to a non-governmental organisation (“NGO”), including its branches, registered under the law and formed with five or more citizens in order to carry out social tasks without taking any benefits in accordance with the rights contained in the Constitution for the sake of the State and the citizen; and
- Non-Governmental International Organisation (“INGO”) refers to branches of an international organisation, including branches that have been set up with the permission of the Union Registration Board, that is opened in the country with at least 40 % Myanmar citizens as the executive committee members, registered at the Union Registration Board under OR 2022 in order to conduct any social task without taking benefit in the country.
Upon submission of the application for either NGO or INGO, a temporary certificate will be issued within 21 days from the date of application. If the application is successful, after an assessment has been conducted, a registration certificate will be issued within 30 days from the date of the decision. It is important to note one of the more significant changes brought about by the OR 2022, is the minimum 40% nationality registration requirements for INGO.
The registration certificate is for a term of five years and the Registration Body has the power to extend the term of the registration certificates. Organisation that is formed before the enactment of the OR 2022 will have to apply for registration within 60 days after the enactment if it intends to continue its activities as an organisation.
Organisations that carry out religious, business and political affairs directly or indirectly in accordance with any existing law, political parties, committee or organisation formed by each level of government organisations do not need to register under OR 2022.
Status of the existing registered organisations
Organisations that are currently registered under ROL 2014 have the right to use the existing certificate until it is expired, subject to the provisions under OR 2022. If the certificate has already expired, it would need to re-apply to continue as organisation. Therefore, organisations registered under ROL 2014 who are waiting to renew their certificate may start the application process for re-application of the registration certificate.
Entitlements of the registered organisations
Registered organisations under OR 2022 are the separate legal entities. As such they have the right to sue and to be sued, receive aid (from other local or international organisations, INGO or individuals), collect donations and establish funds. Registered organisations also have the right to own property and trademark rights, including their own ‘name’, ‘seal’, ‘mark’, and ‘design of uniform’.
Registered organisations are obliged to submit annual report within 60 days in December of each year. The type of reports to be submitted varies based on the registration tier. Failure to comply with this reporting requirement, administrative penalties will be imposed administrative actions, such as warning, limitation of activities for a specified period of time, temporary suspension and revocation of their registration certificates.
AML/CFT compliance requirements
OR 2022 has extended the powers of the Registration Body to give directions to organisations on compliance of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing through cash flow, cash management and monetary support. Any registered organisations shall not be allowed to take, handover, use and provide money, material or any aid in illegal way or commit concealment of such acts by withholding information. Furthermore, communicating or encouraging organisations and persons declared as terrorists and is opposed to the State either directly or indirectly is prohibited.
It is hugely important for every registered organisation to be aware on non-compliance. This as the penalty for default will be fine not exceeding MMK5 million or five year imprisonment or both. Further, the registered certificate of the organisation will be nullified, and its money and assets will be confiscated.
In conclusion, key objectives of the new OR 2022 is to form organisations in accordance with the law and enjoy their rights under the law. Further, OR 2022 establishes a monitoring system in order to provide organisations with responsibility and accountability in its tasks. The regulations also set out the detailed steps and procedures for registration and in addition detail penalties on breach of various types of compliances requirements set out under OR 2022.
We will continue to monitor further developments regarding the registration of organisations and provide updates accordingly.
This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.