On June 5, 2015, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Resolution No. 216 approved the Rule on Registration of Grant Agreements (Orders) ("the Grant Registration Rule" or "the Rule"). While Resolution No. 216 was approved on June 5, 2015, it was only published in the official press on June 14, 2015.
The Grant Registration Rule has authorized the following state bodies to carry out registration of grant agreements: the Ministry of Economy and Industry, with respect to commercial entities; the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations, with respect to religious organizations; and the Ministry of Justice, with respect to non-commercial entities and natural persons.
Like the 1998 Law On Grants ("the Grants Law"), the Rule applies to grant agreements (orders), sub-grants, grant additions, as well as to other financial assistance which must be formalized in accordance with the Grant Law. The Grant Registration Rule does not apply to donations. Furthermore, the requirements of the Rule also apply to sub-grants and additional agreements related to the grant agreements (orders), specifically to their term, purpose as well as the changes in the grant amounts in the respective agreements.
Section 2 of the Grant Registration Rule contains a list of the documents which must be submitted for the registration of grant agreements (orders) such as the executed original of the grant agreement (order), as well as an additional agreement (order) and amendments thereto, the executed original of the project description under the respective agreement (order), copy of the document evidencing that the donors are authorized to issue grants in the Republic of Azerbaijan, proof of financial reporting submitted to the Ministry of Finance by non-governmental organizations and branches and representative offices of foreign non-governmental organizations in Azerbaijan, as well as other procedural documentation, such as a power of attorney, etc.
A grant agreement (order) must be submitted for registration not later than 15 days from the date it is signed (issuance). Information on the grants from the state budget (public funds) must be submitted by the donor not later than 3 days from the date the respective order is adopted. The registration body, in the absence of grounds for suspension or rejection, which are contained in Section 3 of the Rule, must register the agreement (order) within 15 days of the application date. The initial 15 days can be extended once for another 15 days. Notification from the relevant state body is required to conduct bank operations. The Grant Registration Rule prohibits banking transactions and any other transactions regarding the unregistered grant agreements (orders), which is in line with the Grants Law.
While both Grants Law and the Rule use the terms "agreement" and "order" interchangeably, neither the Grants Law nor the Rule contain a definition of an "order". This might give rise to bureaucratic barriers in the registration bodies. For instance, Section 2.1.1 of the Rule requires that the original of the grant agreement (order) signed by the parties be submitted, among other documents, to the relevant state body. It is unclear if the relevant state body would accept a grant order (and not an agreement) signed by the donor only. It seems that an order would also need to be signed by the recipient of grants, which might result in delays in implementing the grant.