Parliament Activity Review April 29 - May 8, 2002
May 15, 2002
During the said period the Parliament focussed on the priorities set by the Government. The Parliament examined the draft laws, which were set by the international organizations as a condition for resuming funding and even adopted some of them in the final reading.
And this because the governing is under the pressure of foreign debts, which have reached the date of maturity this year. Another cause is the commitment of the incumbent governing party to meet its promises, namely to ensure social security of the population and to bring down the impoverishment of the population. Given the above said its crucial to resume the foreign aid, as the IMF and WB money might help pay pensions and salaries, which were increased by 20% as of May 1, 2002. Although left wing forces as a rule enjoy the support of the trade unions, this is not the case of the incumbent governing. Moldovan trade unions have threatened the Government to hold general strikes if it fails to increase the salaries. Under the circumstances the Government has to find additionally several hundreds of millions Lei. This further worsens the situation of the incumbent governing, especially given the budgetary deficit and the failure to receive revenues from privatization.
Despite the Easter and official (May 1 and 9) holidays the Parliament managed to examine and adopt a series of important laws.
Legislative acts adopted in the final reading
I. Law on Biological Security
ADEPT Comment: The law had been adopted at the end of 2001, but the President of the country refused to promulgate it and submitted a series of recommendations regarding the basic notions and principles. Specifically the President insisted on the inclusion of a provision prohibiting human cloning, as well as cloning of other organisms.
In addition, the President recommended the law to include the recommendations of the European Ordinance 2001/18.
II. Law on canceling penalties accrued by some economic enterprises that paid the arrears to the state social security budget
ADEPT Comment: For further details see the Legislative Commentary of April 22-26, 2002.
III. Law on the modification of the Law on Tobacco and Law on Winery
ADEPT Comment: The modifications exclude the provisions regarding state support to the relevant industries via special funds set within the Ministry of Agriculture and Processing Industry.Representatives of the World Bank insisted on the modifications as one of the conditions for the SAC-III credit.
IV. Law on Completion of the Fiscal Code
ADEPT Comment: The law exempts from VAT tax the assets transferred by the economic units to the registered capital. This modification is also one of the conditions set forth by the World Bank in view of SAC-III credit.
V. Law on modification of several legal acts related to local public finances administering
ADEPT Comment: The law obliges local public administration bodies to use special destination transfers from the state budget exclusively for paying the salaries to public employees and social security taxes.
Previously, several violations in administering financial resources received from the state budget have been registered. This was one of the reasons for modification of the Law on local public finances and for transferring the responsibility of administering the finances from the county councils to prefectures.
VI. Law on modification of the Law on Licensing
ADEPT Comment: Under the modifications, the telecommunication market will be liberalized by December 31, 2003, whereas wire telephone services will be provided in all the regions of the country except for Chisinau Municipality and county centers. The latter was so far an exclusive prerogative of national operator S.A. "Moldtelecom".
Liberalization of the telecommunication market was also one of the conditions for resuming crediting the Republic of Moldova, however the Government is not hurrying to meet the requirement as the public auction of S.A."Moldtelecom" is scheduled for this year. Obviously the price for a monopolist operator will be higher than for the same operator when it has several competitors.
VII. Resolutions on appointments and dismissals
ADEPT Comment: The Parliament approved several resolutions, as follows:
- Mr. Anton Miron has been elected the Chairperson of the Commission for Public Administration. He will fill the vacancy after Vasile Iovv was appointed to the position of Deputy Prime Minister;
- Mr. Valeriu Doga has been elected Secretary to the Juridical Commission for Appointments and Immunities. He will replace Nicolae Zara, who was transferred to the Commission on Environment and Territory Development;
- Mr. Vasile Cretsu, University Lecturer has been appointed as a Member of the Supreme Magistracy Council. He will replace Iurie Sedletschi, whose mandate had expired.
Legal acts adopted in the first (not-final) reading
I. Law on the enforcement procedure of the Law on Administrative-Territorial Organizations of the Republic of Moldova and the Law on Local Public Administration
ADEPT Comment: The draft provides that the said laws will be enforced after new administrative territorial units are formed and local public administration bodies are elected. Until then the provisions of the old laws shall be applied.
Thus the Parliament is trying to solve the problem produced by the Constitutional Court ruling recognizing as constitutional the new administrative-territorial division of the country, but outlawing the mechanisms of local public administration election and functioning.
Noteworthy, the relevant law was on the list of recommendations made by the Council of Europe in view of overcoming the political crisis.
II. Law on the modification and completion of the Law on the Court of Accounts
ADEPT Comment: The said law is also part of the conditions set forth by international organizations for resuming crediting the Republic of Moldova. The modifications refer to:
- improving the Court activity and excluding its competencies which are not specific to a supreme financial control body;
- optimizing the Court structure, excluding the provisions allowing the overlap of the Court functions with those of other fiscal control bodies;
- abolishing the Court right to oversee the administration of public patrimony;
- abolishing the Court right to oversee the activity of economic enterprises, etc.
III. Law on the modification of the Law on the Customs Fee
ADEPT Comment: The relevant modification reduces the cost of customs procedures from 0.25% to 0,15%.
IV. Law on the modification and completion of the Law on Telecommunication
ADEPT Comment: The modifications establish the term for liberalizing the IP-telephony services currently provided exclusively by the S.A."Moldtelecom". The term established is December 31, 2003.
The issue of liberalizing IP-telephony triggered numerous protests of the operators who were prohibited to provide such kind of services. International financial institutions also insist on liberalizing the IP market.
V. Law on the modification of several legal acts on cash payments
ADEPT Comment: The modification recommends increasing the maximum amount of payments allowed in cash from 5,000 to 10,000 Lei per month.
VI. Law on the completion of the Law on Customs Fee
ADEPT Comment: The completion recommends exempting the goods imported for the duty-free sale from VAT tax.