Parliament Activity Review December 9-13, 2002
December 16, 2002
The most important legal acts adopted by Parliament in the time period covered were the Law on Indemnifying Deposits in the Savings Bank and Law on Political Parties.
Legal acts adopted in the final reading
I. Law on indemnifying bank deposits in the Savings Bank.
ADEPT comment: The law provides principles for indemnification, quantum and payment of indemnities. Under the law deposits shall be indemnified at the ration 1 ruble - 1 Lei for the first thousand of rubles and at the ration 2.5 rubles - 1 Lei for the amount exceeding 1 thousand rubles per person.
The amount due as indemnities is 1,8 billion Lei and is to be paid within 15 years. State budget for year 2003 provides for 43 million lei worth indemnities, which are to be paid, based on a regulation to be adopted by the Government.
Initially, Transdnistrian residents were not subject to the law, however in the final version the Parliament decided that the issue should be reconsidered once financial relations between the two regions resume. This is another incentive used by the Parliament to motivate Transdnistrian residents to pursue the reunification of the two regions.
The enforcement of the law would take some time, the first indemnities are due to be paid in several months, just in time for the authorities to exploit this fact on the eve of 2003 local elections.
II. Law on modification and completion of the Law on Political Parties.
ADEPT comment: The law voted only by the majority faction, obliges parties to annually submit the list of their party members for the Ministry of Justice to reconfirm the number of party members. If the Ministry does not confirm the necessary number of party members, then it shall request the court to rule on party liquidation. A Liquidation Commission is to be formed based on the court ruling. Furthermore, the law obliges parties to establish their territorial units in at least half of second-level administrative-territorial units.
The majority faction declined amendments submitted by the opposition on the grounds they are too complex and should be the subject of a new draft law.
III. Law on modification and completion of legal acts on entering and exiting the country and liability violating thereof.
ADEPT comment: The law:
- Provides a new wording of Article 80 of the Penal Code and provides that the article does not extend on the persons who entered Republic of Moldova as asylum seekers or victims of human trafficking.
- Completes the Code of Offence with several new articles, regulating the expulsion from the soil of the Republic of Moldova of the foreign citizens who violate the rules of stay in the country, registration or re-registration of ID.
- Modifies the Law on entering and exiting Republic of Moldova by specifying the procedure for inviting foreign citizens to the country, their registration, etc.
IV. Law on ratification of international acts.
ADEPT comment: Under the law the following documents were ratified:
- Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and Croatia on trade and economic cooperation signed on August 12, 2002 by the President of the Republic of Moldova and President of the Republic of Croatia.
- Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Moldova and Government of the Slovak Republic on trade and economic activity.
V. Resolution on overseeing the enforcement of the Law on plant protection.
ADEPT comment: The Resolution highlights the flaws related to the said law enforcement and recommends perfecting the legal framework in the field. Furthermore, under the resolution the Government shall establish a reserve fund for purchasing pesticides and for protecting plants, as well as for subsidies to plant protection activities through biological methods.
Legal acts examined and adopted in the first reading (not final)
I. Draft law on public control over the state activity.
ADEPT comment: The said draft was developed within the framework of the Social Pact initiated by the President of the Republic of Moldova. One of its goals is to establish an efficient public control over the state activity, in view of ensuring the observance of citizens' constitutional rights and making state policy and public bodies accountable to the society.
Although it includes several provisions aimed towards participatory democracy, the law also includes quite a number of declarative provisions, which would make their enforcement very difficult. Although the draft was published in mass media for public debates, it failed to draw public attention. Neither political parties nor non-governmental organizations commented or made recommendations on the law.
II. Draft law on privatization.
ADEPT comment: The new law regulates the process of transferring public property into private ownership. The law is aimed to:
- establish conditions for restructuring, stabilizing and bolstering national economy;
- enlarge private sector;
- attract investments;
- develop estate market;
- enhance efficiency of the enterprises, etc.
The following are the main principles of privatization:
- free access and equal rights to privatization;
- transparency of the privatization process;
- granting lead to employees of the enterprises to be privatized, etc.
The law also specifies: subjects of privatization; patrimony not subject to privatization; prerogatives of the body entitled to conduct privatization; preparing privatization process; privatization procedures; privatization in certain fields of industry, etc.
The most controversial provision was the one referring to the liabilities of the parties in the sale-purchase contract of the public patrimony. Initially the law provided that if the buyer of the privatized unit failed to pay the entire amount, violated any provisions of the contract, or failed to achieve at least one of the privatization objectives, then the seller would be entitled to initiate the procedure of contract annulment. In such a case, no money paid in advance shall be returned to the buyer, no expenses shall be reimbursed, however the buyer would have to cover the relevant expenses and possible losses. World Bank objected to the provision and it would probably be excluded during the second reading, or re-worded so as to suit international organizations.
III. Draft law on pre-dispatch inspection.
ADEPT comment: The issue has taken center stage since the Government at the pressure of international financial organizations passed a relevant decision. Despite numerous attempts to get rid of the relevant procedure, enterprises still have to resort to "SGS" services whenever they intend to import goods into the Republic of Moldova falling within the category of obligatory inspection.
Constitutional Court interfered and ruled as unconstitutional Government's prerogative to establish the procedure of pre-dispatch inspection of the imported goods.
The draft developed by the Government and proffered for Parliament examination is aimed to regulate pre-dispatch inspection, importers' rights and obligations, rights of the state bodies and of the companies selected to conduct pre-inspection expedition.
During the first reading deputies voiced their concern with regard to some ambiguous provisions. In particular they cited the obligation to conduct pre-dispatch inspection, which is recommended to be optional.
Also, the company to inspect the imported goods is to be selected via an open tender, whereas the contract should provide for timely rendering of inspection services.
To conclude, debates on the issue are not finished and they would definitely continue. On the one hand international monetary organizations insist on the inspection, on the other hand domestic importers and producers oppose it. If not for the contract with SGS, there would be possible to reach a compromise. If Moldovan authorities annul the contract they would have to pay considerable penalties. Needless to say, domestic businessmen claimed if this happens they would gather the money necessary to cover for the penalties.
IV. Draft law on assessing product conformity.
ADEPT comment: The draft law regulates conformity assessment of the products, equipment, processes, technologies, production systems and dangerous works, quality of the services in order to ensure national security, prevent frauds and protect citizens' rights.
The law defines several notions, establishes bodies entitled to conduct assessment and accreditation, etc. The law is aimed to substitute the current legal framework on certification. Representatives of all Parliament factions criticized the draft, which would rather undergo extensive changes until its adoption.