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Parlament Activity, July 7-11, 2003
15 July 2003
During the two plenary sessions of the referred period, the greatest attention was paid to the examination of a number of legislative documents, among which the Law on the Amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and the Law on the Amendment of the State Budget for the current year. While the first document caused political discussions, the second one led to debates of economic character, as part of the deputies doubted the veracity of the prognosis, according to which the 2003 budget would be characterized by a budget excess, i.e. the budget will have a proficit.
Besides the upper-mentioned documents, the Parliament examined a series of other draft laws, listed further on.
I. The Law on Innovation and Technological Transfer State Policy
ADEPT comment: By this Law a series of general notions in the domain are determined, among them the following:
Innovation - improvement of function or functionality of a product or service, making it correspond to the market requirements or even generate a new market demand;
Technological transfer - introduction in the economic circuit of specific technologies and tools, equipment and installations, resulted from the scientific research or from procurement, in view of obtaining new products, services or processes;
Innovation and technological transfer - a process of transforming the results of scientific research, of practical elaborations and other scientific-technical achievements into a new product, service, process and ulterior submitted to technological transfer and marketing process;
Innovation and technological transfer state policy - a component part of the social-economic state policy oriented to the development, coordination and stimulation of innovation and technological transfer activity through the revaluation of scientific-technical achievements.
The Law also contains provisions relating to:
- Innovation and technological transfer (the content, objects, subjects and legal relations);
- Regulation of innovation and technological transfer activity (mechanisms of regulation, prerogatives of the responsible public authorities, priority directions);
- Innovation and technological transfer Programmes and Projects (state programmes, projects, ways of selection and registering of projects);
- State support of innovation and technological transfer activity (financing resources to support programmes and projects, supporting possibilities, conditions under which state support can be carried out, provision of information in the domain etc.).
Though the draft law abounds in sophisticated and complex definitions that establish a series of rules in the domain, it is difficult to judge on the value of the new Law, as even the actions, proposed to be supported by the state - innovation and technological transfer, are very rare in the current scientific practice.
Besides, even if state support to respective activities is declared, the state support as such is not carried out by concrete measures, as the new Law does not set the way of state financial support to innovation and technological transfer activities; and the provisions relating to the peculiarities of fiscal taxes and customs fees are not established in a concrete way; instead of this, references are being made to the provisions of the Fiscal Code and Customs Law. But these legal instruments do not state essential facilities for the scientific activities of innovation and technological transfer, and the establishing of concrete facilities after the new Law coming into force; can face the lack of financial resources or some other unfavorable objective and subjective factors.
In this context, we have to mention that recently the Parliament adopted a decision, demanding that the Government should determine a set of main directions of scientific research to be supported by the state, as the vast number of scientific spheres necessitating support, does not bring efficient results and does not permit the obtaining of an adequate output for the current national economy. So, the highest legislative organ requires the reducing of the number of state supported scientific spheres; at the same time, it adopts a new Law, the implementation of which necessitates considerable financial resources, even if it is very difficult to assure the Law efficient employment.
II. The Law on the Delegation to the Government of the Right to Issue Ordinances
ADEPT comment: By the respective Law, on the basis of the Constitution art.1062 (Legislative Delegation), the Parliament delegated the Government the right to issue Ordinances in domains other than those referring to organic laws, in the intervals between ordinary sessions of the Parliament:
- regulations relating to utilization of state reserves, with the purpose to ensure the alimentary, veterinary and phytosanitary security, for the elimination of eventual natural calamities consequences;
- regulations relating to ensure electric power security;
- regulations relating to the maintaining of public order and national security etc.
In the debates it was mentioned again the inutility and inefficiency of the adopted by the Parliament legal instruments, as during the 3-year period of the validity of this legislative delegation norm, the Government took this advantage only once, in 2000, during the governance of Alliance for Democracy and Reforms, when the Ordinance on the quantum of consular fees (still in force) and the Ordinance on the inspection before expedition (abrogated by the Parliament at the end of 2000), were issued.
It was noted that, even in the absence of a certain specific Law, the Government could take any necessary measures, as the laws in force empower it with the respective attributions.
Some experts mentioned that the inefficiency of the corresponding constitutional norm is not determined by the fact that the mentioned norm is alien to our legal system, but, first of all, by the reluctance of the Executive to solicit empowerment in important and responsible domains. In other words, the situation can be explained by the unwillingness of the Government to assume the responsibility for certain actions, currently unpopular with the parliamentary majority, but necessary for the Executive to promote some of the immediate goals and tasks.
Besides, it is interesting to remark the fact, that the Government never tried to assume responsibility for any draft Laws, explaining that the Executive and Legislative organs are collaborating in an efficient way, so that it is not necessary to use any extreme methods. Still, the respective procedure could have been used in the intricate case of the new Law on inspection before expedition; the mentioned Law being imposed by international financial organisms but not wanted by the parliamentary majority. It seemed that, instead of Law implementation, the President applied the cabinet reshuffle procedure; the public being explained that one of the causes of the Vice-prime minister, minister of economy Stefan Odagiu dismissal was the inefficiency of the carried on negotiations on the repeal of inspection before expedition. After all, the parliamentary majority had to regulate the unpopular procedure exactly in accordance with the requirements of IMF and in the form presented by the Gouvernment of those times.
III. The Law on the Ratification of Development Credit Agreement
ADEPT comment: By the respective Law the Credit Agreement, concluded between the Republic of Moldova and the National bank, in the amount exceeding USD 7.2 million, was ratified. The crediting conditions are considered to be favorable:
- a 40- year credit term;
- a 10-year grace period;
- 0% of interest rate, commission returns of 0,75% of the credited value.
The credit is directed to the financing of the Project of Trade and Transport Facilitation in the South-East of Europe, the main beneficiary of the Project being the Customs Department; it will proceed to the modernizing of the infrastructure, will implement an integrated informational system of goods control etc.
IV. The Law on the Amendment of the State Budget Law for 2003
ADEPT comment: the main effectuated amendment is the increase of the Budget revenues by an amount of more than 600 million lei, in order to establish a budget excess, amounting to 298 million lei. The main source of revenues increase will be the Moldova National Bank loan, amounting to more than 590 million lei, to be used for the reimbursement of state external debt. Namely these provisions determined some of the opposition deputies to doubt the correctness of the Government proposals, but the Ministry of Finance assured that a series of grants had already been negotiated and would permit the debt reimbursement to the MNB.
The mentioned Law also foresees that the state budget should take over the expenses (amounting to around 10 million lei) for the electric power that has been used to pump out the water for agricultural lands irrigation.
V. The Law on VAT Exemption of Gas Meters
ADEPT comment: By the respective Law the final decision was taken on the proposal on VAT exemption of gas meters, imported by "Moldovagaz" company in 1998-2000, in the frames Credit given by the International Reconstruction and Development Bank. According to some data, the stock comprises about 34 000 meters, the total estimated value of these amounting to some 19 million lei. The price of the imported then meters is by 100-150 lei higher than the current market prices and the VAT exemption will permit that gas meters to re-become competitive again.
VI. The Law on the Amendment of the Law on Oil Products Market
ADEPT comment: By the respective Law it was decided to postpone the term of compulsory installation of cash registers with fiscal memory - for November 1, 2003.
Also, the term of implementing of an automatic control system of oil products was postponed - for December 1, 2003.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that, recently, disciplinary punishments have been inflicted upon the Directors of Customs Department and Informational Technologies Department for the non-execution of the provisions relating to the implementation of a Control system on the transport means, entering the territory of the Republic of Moldova.
VII. The Law on the Amendment of the RM Constitution, Adopted in the First Reading
ADEPT comment: By this Law the introduction in the RM Constitution of certain provisions referring to the statute of Gagauz Yeri autonomous territorial unit is proposed. The following completions are suggested:
In the debates there was mentioned the importance of this Law adoption, as well as the necessity to amend some of the Law provisions in order to exclude certain stipulations that could affect the content of the Constitution, in general, and especially, those provisions that could decrease the state sovereignty content.
- Introduction of the right to legislative initiative on the part of the Popular Assembly of Gagauz Yeri.
- Introduction of a separate Article relating to the statute of autonomous territorial units.
- Introduction of a separate Article relating to the statute of Gagauz Yeri autonomous territorial unit, containing stipulations referring to:
- Statute characteristics: the form of self-determination, an integrated part of the Republic of Moldova competent to solve problems of its development;
- the method of forming the Gagauz Yeri budget;
- the maintaining in the exclusive property of the Republic of Moldova the land, earth depths, waters, vegetable and animal kingdoms of the Gagauz Yeri territory;
- the establishing of a special statute for the Law on the special legal statute of Gagauz Yeri, so that its amendments could be possible only with the vote of three fifths of the total number of elected deputies.
VIII. The Law on the Declaration of Joint-Stock "Cricova" Integrated Wine Plant an Object of Cultural National Patrimony, Adopted in the First Reading
ADEPT comment: By the respective Law it is proposed to attribute to the Cricova Integrated Wine Plant the statute of a cultural national patrimony object. It is also proposed that the National wine collection, wine repository, vineyards and orchards, belonging to the Cricova wine plant, to be included in the respective Complex.
The Law also stipulates a special management regime, a town-planning arrangement of the plant territory and a special system of exercising property rights for the mentioned Complex.
Of great interest are the Law provisions relating to the peculiarities and restrictions on the use of the "Cricova" geographical name, being stipulated that the mentioned Integrated Wine Plant has the right to use the given denomination in the name of the firm, in brands and in denominations of industrial property objects. Any physical or legal entity with the domicile (premises) in Cricova, that would like to use the geographical name "Cricova" for the identification of own manufactured articles, will be able to do that only on the basis of the Parliament authorization, issued in coordination with the Integrated Wine Plant. For lack of the authorization, all those who currently use this denomination, are bound to modify their denomination or the denomination of manufactured articles, in a 5-year term.
Namely these provisions could cause the discontent of some business representatives, producers of alcoholic drinks, who currently use the word "Cricova" in their products' denomination.