The audit found that restrictions on gatherings during the emergency also had a negative impact on the financial situation of the churches, as the main source of income for religious unions was donations made in person by church visitors. These funds are used to remunerate the clergy and ministers of the churches.
Religious organizations and their institutions could not apply for and claim downtime benefits because clerical and ministry staff continued to perform their duties even in an emergency. To address the situation, religious organizations turned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which developed a proposal for the allocation of funds from the state budget program “Funds for Contingencies
cases “to support the clergy and ministry of churches in paying out crisis benefits.
The amount of the benefit of 300 euros per month was determined by evaluating the existing experience of the state in paying downtime benefits, as well as taking into account the information provided by the State Revenue Service that 86% of employees who received downtime benefits did not exceed
According to the information provided by the State Audit Office, the Ministry of Finance concluded agreements with six churches and transferred additional funding in the total amount of 232,800 euros from the budget program “Contingency Funds” for the payment of crisis benefits.
The inspections performed during the audit show that crisis benefits for clerical and service personnel have been paid in accordance with the conditions or criteria specified in the agreement with the Ministry of Education, ports, revenues of the respective religious organization in March or April 2020 decreased by at least 30 %, as well as the clergy and ministry staff of the respective religious organization continued to perform their duties during the emergency situation and mandatory state social insurance contributions were paid for these persons.
In total, the church crisis benefit was paid to only 135 persons instead of the originally planned 394 persons and in the amount of 69,077 euros or 29% of the funding transferred to the TM. The audit authority noted that this was due to the fact that the churches did not meet the initial forecast of a 30% reduction in the income of religious organizations when assessing the conditions and criteria for the payment of the crisis benefit, which was one of the criteria for the payment of the crisis benefit.
“For example, one religious organization paid crisis benefits to 26 people for only one month. In addition, two religious organizations paid crisis benefits to 24 people at the lowest rate.
in the amount of 30 to 300 euros per month, evaluating the work and time invested by the person, “the State Audit Office pointed out.
Unused funding will be transferred to the state budget.
It has already been reported that in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic in Latvia from March to June 9, an emergency situation was declared.