Parliament Activity, 29 September - 3 October, 2003
8 October 2003
This week all the attention was focussed on several events, namely the visit of Moldovan delegation to Strasbourg, the speech delivered by the President and Foreign Minister to the CE Parliamentary Assembly, and the way the President handled the questions raised by PACE deputies, a lot of them being left without an answer.
The most important message sent by the President was that the only possible way to reunite the country was through federalization. A couple of days afterwards, during his visit to Canada, Russian Defense Minister stated that his country would probably ask for an extension of the deadline for evacuating Russian troops and munitions from Transdnistrian region. Experts believe such a statement wouldn't have been made without a prior consultation with Moldovan authorities, which made it clear at the Council of Europe that they were doing everything in their power to demilitarize the Transdnistrian region and for Russia to comply with OSCE resolutions.
During the aforesaid period legislative activity was rather quite, being disturbed only by some statements of the opposition regarding their stance on the Conception of National State Policy. Deputies examined several important drafts, and we will refer to some of them in greater detail below.
I. Resolution on establishing a Commission to examine the Conception of National State Policy
ADEPT Comment: The Parliament decided to establish a special commission that will collect all the recommendations and suggestions on the Conception of National State Policy of the Republic of Moldova. It is worth mentioning that the draft developed by the presidency was put forward for public debates and gathered much criticism from the civil society. Opposition in Parliament saw the Conception as an attempt to aggravate the situation.
It is believed that such kind of initiatives are aimed at diverting public attention from the real problems the incumbent ruling is confronted with, and to direct it instead to rather complicated issues that may not be settled within a certain period of time.
II. Law on Modifying the State Budget for Year 2003
ADEPT Comment: The amendments were made to allow for special transfers to the rayonal budgets of Dubasari and Causeni rayons. The funds are to be used for:
- Compensating the difference in tariffs on electricity and gas to the residents of localities to the left of Dniester, which are not under the control of the breakaway regime;
- Compensating the losses incurred by companies providing discounts to the residents of the aforesaid localities;
- Paying back the debts of the institutions funded from the rayon budgets to the energy distribution companies that provided discounts.
Noteworthy, earlier on the Parliament passed special laws granting certain preferences on electricity payments to the residents of localities to the left of Dniester under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Moldova. These preferences were aimed at compensating the difference in the tariffs for electricity in Moldova and Transdnistria.
III. Law on modifying legal acts regulating economic activity
ADEPT Comment: The following modifications were made:
- Companies are obliged to publish in the Official Monitor any changes in their name;
- Company activity might be suspended by the founders' decision only within the first three years, imposing registration of the suspension with the State Registration Chamber, publishing an announcement in the Official Monitor, ceasing fiscal and statistic reporting, prohibition to conduct any type of activity, etc;
- Registration of a new company may be denied if the applicant had previously registered companies that are not functioning or are suspended, until there full settlement;
- Registration decision may be cancelled only by the court ruling;
- List of documents to be submitted in order to initiate a liquidation procedures was established, etc.
The law is intended to better regulate entrepreneurial activity, as well terms of erasing from the state registry companies that are not functioning and only incur additional expenditures for the founding members. Also, the law would make the activity of control bodies much easier, given that unoperational companies are occasionally used for rapid money laundering, which makes it rather difficult to monitor them.
IV. Law on Modifying the Law on State Tax
ADEPT Comment: A state tax is to be paid when appealing final court rulings. This decision was taken given the high number of appeals since the enforcement of the new Civil Procedure Code. In it turn, this higher number of appeals is determined by the fact that the new Code does not provide mechanisms for appealing court ruling issued before its enforcement.
V. Draft law on modifying the Customs Code, passed in the first reading
ADEPT Comment: The modifications refer in particular to establishing a duty-free for the diplomatic corps. Many deputies opposed the modifications on the grounds that the number of diplomats accredited in the Republic of Moldova was insignificant to justify the creation of a duty-free. Moreover as a rule duty-frees are a source of irregularities, fiscal evasion, and other shadow economy schemes.
VI. Draft law on modifying the Law on Tourism
ADEPT Comment: Modifications define (around 35) functions of the Department for Tourism Development. Both opposition and several majority faction representatives objected the provisions on the sources of funding for Department activity, namely:
- Revenues from patents;
- Revenues from training and development services;
- Revenues from classifying institutions operating on the tourist market, etc.
Deputies considered that the said provision would determine abuses in controlling, patenting and classification.
In a related note, state control bodies have taken center stage of discussion lately, in particular there are many discussions on the need to have one single law regulating all kinds of controls.