Parliament Activity Review March 3-7, 2003
March 11, 2003
In the time period covered by the commentary the Parliament examined the following laws:
I. Law on modification of the Law on Privatization
ADEPT comment: The law revises almost completely the Law on Privatization passed in 1991 which was applied ever since for the privatization of the state patrimony.
The law defines the goals of privatization: enlarging the private sector; attracting foreign and domestic investments; and boosting securities market and increasing production. The following principles shall govern privatization: social security of the population; transparency of the privatization process; granting preferential conditions to the employees of the privatized companies; and free access to privatization process.
The Parliament decided to change the procedure of privatization at symbolic price of 1 Lei, establishing that it would be applied only in the case of certain companies, which are to be determined by the Government. Also, the Parliament ruled that 3% of the privatization revenues should be transferred to the Privatization Department.
Another provision of the law entitles companies to turn the company into public companies, however the procedure is to be regulated via a separate law.
Although the initial draft provided sanctions for the investors, who failed to meet the assumed obligations, those provisions were later excluded at the insistence of the international monetary organizations, except for the annulment of the privatization contract via a court ruling.
Noteworthy, the modification of this law as well as the adoption of a new law on pre-dispatch inspection were among the requirements set by the international monetary organizations for resuming Republic of Moldova funding.
II. Law on the modification of the Law on the Deputy Status
ADEPT comment: The law allows members of Parliament to conduct research and didactic activity only outside the working hours as specified in the Parliament Regulation. However the said Regulation does not specify the exact number of hours a deputy should work in the Parliament. The only thing the Regulation is clear about are the days of plenary sessions and commission sittings. Specifying the exact number of hours would be in line with the labor law, however would run counter to the constitutional provision, Article 68 (1) obliging deputies to be in the permanent "service of the people".
III. Law on modification and completion of the Penal Code and Code of Administrative Offence, adopted in the first reading
ADEPT comment: Under the law the Code of Administrative Offence is completed with new sanctions for violating the rules of using cash registers.
A new wording of the following articles of the Penal Code is provided: on illegal entrepreneurship; on embezzlement; on illegal deposits in foreign banks; on failure to pay taxes and other binding payments; on transportation, storage and sale of goods not marked with excise stamps, etc.
Needless to say many deputies opposed the amendments due to the fact that the offences referred to were not clear enough and are not likely to improve the situation.
IV. Law on the modification of the Law on Access to Information, adopted in the first reading
ADEPT comment: The Law on Access to Information is completed with provisions related to access to environmental information. The initiative has been criticized by the authors of the Law on Access to Information and of the Law on Access to Environmental Information ("Biotica" NGO).
Environment activists objected to the fact that under the new law, access to environmental information may be denied if making it public would damage the environment, or if the people might wrongly interpret it, and thus lead to panic or other negative events.
Noteworthy, previously the Parliament rejected the draft on access to environmental information on the grounds that it should be incorporated in the Law on Access to Information.