Closing of the 2003 Spring-summer Parliament Session
5 August 2003
On 31 July 2003 took place the closing meeting of the 2003 spring-summer session of Parliament, which heard reports by President Voronin, the Prime Minister Tarlev and the President of Parliament Ostapciuc.
Prior to the festive part of closing the session, the deputies adopted a series of legislative acts in an emergency regime, to some of which we will refer below.
Law on Exempting from Taxes the Goods Delivered from Transnistria
ADEPT Comment: Via this law a number of changes have been made to the Fiscal Code, whereby the deliveries of goods and services by businesses registered with the State Registration Chamber, resident in Moldova and fiscally non related to the Moldovan budgetary system will be exempted from the value added tax. The law was intended as a measure to eliminate barriers in the economic relations between businesses from the two banks of Nistru River.
Earlier the Moldovan authorities, along with a number of restrictive measures of abolishing certain regulations that allowed for abuses upon the commercialisation of Transnistrian goods, also introduced a range of measures to facilitate economic exchanges, including cutting down and later abolishing the registration taxes, abolishing customs taxes and simplifying the licensing procedure.
At the same time, the Transnistrians introduced huge taxes on "goods imported" from Moldova for every crossing of the border. Those measures were regarded as sabotage and as meant to hinder the conflict resolution efforts as well as challenge the international community.
The law therefore bears a pronounced political character, yet its positive impact might be undermined by a number of factors that might surface upon application. These could be the non-observation of laws in the out-of-law Transnistrian territory or the lack of any means of control of the quality of delivered goods or their origin. In addition, the goods delivered from Transnistria might prove more competitive on the Moldovan market since their self-costs are much lower than in Moldova due to the lower labour cost and the Transnistrians' politics of attraction of investments and protection of some monopolists. These concerns were voiced during the debates of the law, but in the end the political rationales have prevailed over the economic ones and the law was adopted.
Law on the Amendment of Pension Laws
ADEPT Comment: Via this law the Parliament adopted new regulations with regard to the pensions to the Members of Parliament and Government. From now on these will receive pensions in the same quantum as other categories of pensioners: 42% upon reaching the minimum age, and certain raises for the years worked after the age of pensioning. Thus, the Parliament has introduced equal criteria for the calculation of pensions to deputies, ministers, public officers, customs workers, local elected officers and officers employed with diplomatic services.
At the same time, outside the new regulations remain the judges, prosecutors and the peoples affiliated with them, as well as the employees of law enforcing bodies. These categories enjoy certain privileges upon the calculation of their pensions.
The unification of pensions has been one of the conditions put forth by the international financial bodies and the failure to adopt it has been one of the reasons that prompted the IMF not to resume foreign funding to Moldova this year. Thus, the adoption of the law at this stage is a useless measure, save that one can get some satisfaction from the fact that the elected ones have given up the privileges conferred upon them by their predecessors and that they will now have equal pension rights as the ordinary citizens.
Law on the Remuneration and Other Rights of State Notaries
ADEPT Comment: The Parliament adopted in the final reading the law providing for the state notaries to be remunerated as much as 20 % of the monthly fees they charge for their services, but not less than the average salary forecast for this year.
The law also stipulates that the remuneration of the technical personnel and state notary offices will be carried out under the same remuneration conditions as the technical personnel working for public authorities.
The network of state notary offices, their structure and personnel are to be determined by the Government, at the proposal of the Justice Ministry. The Justice Ministry will also decide on opening and organising the activity of such offices, as well as on their technical, material and financial support.
State notaries will pay into the budget of social insurance 29% of their remuneration fund.
Law on Exempting Grain Imports from Taxes
ADEPT Comment: The Law provides that during August-December 2003, the imports and sales on Moldovan territory of wheat, rye and barley will be exempted from the VAT.
The opposition deputies warned that large quantities of these goods had been exported and deposited close to Moldova, and that soon they would be imported back to Moldova and we would have to buy the same grain produces at much higher prices.
On the other hand, the international financial organisations have forced the Government to eliminate any restrictions on exports, regardless of whether they are of strategic importance and thus likely to affect the general state of the Moldovan economy. Initially, the Government undertook a series of measures to stop the exports of grains, but had later to abolish those measures under pressure from the international financial bodies.
Law on Abolishing the Historic Debts of some State Publishing Houses
ADEPT Comment: Via this law the Parliament voted to abolish the historic debts of state publishing houses "Lumina" and "Cartea Moldovei", worth a total of 630,000 lei. The debt has cumulated due to the non-payment of the rent and the sanctions applied because of that.
Earlier the Parliament abolished the debts worth over 3 million lei of some state concert and theatre enterprises. This sort of decisions affect negatively the national budget and reveal the preferential treatment of state institutions over the private ones, although the latter do not incur any losses to the state budget and are only sanctioned for failure to pay taxes on their income.
Law on Amending the Definition of the Notion "Money laundering" in the Criminal Code
ADEPT Comment: Via this law the current definition of this notion, as it stands in Article 243, paragraph (1), of the Criminal Code, has been replaced by a new one whereby money laundering takes place upon committing any of the following:
- claiming legal the source and origin of money, goods or income obtained illegally as a result of committing offences;
- hiding, disguising or denaturing information about the nature, origin, movement, placement or ownership of money, goods or income of whose illicit origin an individual is aware;
- obtaining, possessing or using goods which one knows originate from a crime etc.