Parliament activity, October 13-17, 2003
20 October 2003
During the said period, Teleradio-Moldova institution and possible changes to its status have taken the center stage.
The draft law proffered by a group of Communist deputies has drawn wide-range criticism from opposition for an alleged attempt to subdue the newly established institution and to conceal the frauds made by the institution's leadership, which by the way had been appointed by the very same Communist majority.
Another controversial subject was the draft Resolution on the results of parliamentary commission's control over the IT Department. Again, opposition accused majority faction of concealing the fraud in contracting IT services and products required for the production of IDs of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. In its turn, majority faction, replied that the disputed contracts had been signed under the previous governments, including the ones made up of the incumbent opposition.
Apart from political matters, deputies examined several important drafts, and we will refer to some of them in greater detail below.
I. Law on Canceling Penalties accrued for delays in paying state social security
ADEPT Comment: The law cancels the penalties accrued as of January 1, 2002 by the companies which do not have arrears to wage payment to its employees or state social insurance payments.
The penalties are estimated at 4 million MDL. The law refers in particular to state owned companies, municipal or cooperative enterprises, such as:
- "Seminte" joint stock venture;
- "Casa mobilei" Mall;
- Ministry of Industry;
- "Expo-Business Chisinau" Free Economic Zone;
- Thermoelectric Station no. 2 from Chisinau;
- "Fertilitate-Agro" state enterprise, etc.
II. Law on Publishing International Treaties
ADEPT Comment: Under the law, international treaties Republic of Moldova is part of shall be published in special publications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within one month of their enforcement. Legislative and normative acts thereby those international acts are approved shall continue to be published in the Official Monitor of the Republic of Moldova.
The thing is, under the Constitution international acts Moldova adhered to are part of the domestic legal framework, or even have a priority over it (especially in the case of legal acts related to human rights). Nevertheless, only the laws on their enforcement are officially published, whereas the international treaties themselves are rarely published and if published only with a limited turnout.
There were several attempts to solve the problem before, however because of the lack of funds all of them failed.
Under the law, each year the Government will allot a certain amount for special publications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nevertheless, the law may be never enforced because of the high cost of translation services, which may not be covered all from the state budget. One solution would be to resort to official acts translated into Romanian. However, this solution per se is questionable too as authorities refuse to acknowledge that Moldovan and Romanian are in fact one and the same language. Unfortunately, at the end of the day it will be the ordinary citizen who would have to suffer being unaware of the international provisions, especially those providing for rights and guarantees.
III. Law on the modification of the Code of Civil Procedure
ADEPT Comment: Modifications operated to law exclude the provisions prohibiting local councilors to practice as lawyers in the precincts they were elected. Initially those limitations were designed to prevent local government from subduing the judiciary, in reality though, they limited lawyer's prerogatives. Moreover, it left lawyers without any sources of income. This is the more important as the councilor position is not a paid job.
Noteworthy, seizing this opportunity opposition tried to lobby another amendment, thereby allowing MPs to practice as lawyers. The amendment was rejected on the grounds that deputies in Parliament are paid for their activity, moreover under the Constitution deputy position is incompatible with any other paid job, except for scientific or didactic activity.
IV. Law on completing the Law on Energy
ADEPT Comment: The activity of the energy overseeing body is to be funded out of the energy tariffs. Great many deputies, including those of the Communist faction, opposed the initiative on the grounds that it would increase the current tariffs, which would eventually affect consumers. Government representatives argued that at the moment state energy overseeing body was also funded out of the energy tariff, however this procedure was not provided for in the legislation.
V. Law on transferring summer camp in village Romanesti in return for debts
ADEPT Comment: Historic debts of the Mezon Company, worth 3.5 million MDL have been cancelled in exchange for summer camp in Romanesti village. Initially, the Government proposed the summer camp to be transferred into the property of the Youth and Sports Department, which in its turn would have transfer it into the property of the National Olympic Committee.
VI. Law on modifying the privatization plan
ADEPT Comment: Modifications refer in particular to excluding "Valogrvin" Company based in Hirtopul Mare from the privatization list and transferring it into the property of "Aroma" Company. Thus, Aroma Company would take hold of wineries, which would enable it to fill its stocks of raw material. Noteworthy, Aroma itself is included in the privatization list. Therefore the said modifications were operated in view of increasing its price and attractiveness in the eyes of potential investors.
VII. Resolution on the results of parliamentary commission's control over the IT Department
ADEPT Comment: The resolution calls on Government to:
- negotiate the annulment of the contract on printing an excessive number of ID forms;
- assess whether it's feasible to continue the leasing agreement on technological support, given that the IT Department already has the capacity to perform it itself;
- assess whether it is possible to grant, from Department internal resources, some discounts to certain citizens applying for ID.
The Resolution also calls on the Prosecutor General to investigated on missing ID forms as well as on the legality of the contract on printing an excessive number of forms.
VIII. Draft law on modifying the Law on "Teleradio-Moldova" audiovisual public institution
ADEPT Comment: Modifications refer in particular to:
- The company shall have a bank account in commercial banks to administer extra-budget funds.
- The two deputy chairpersons, one - General Director of the Radio and another of the TV, would stay just as executive director of radio and TV respectively.
- The Company will have only one deputy chairperson, i.e. general producer.
The draft also provides for the liquidation of the "Teleradio-Moldova" company and firing its entire staff. The spin-off institution will take over only the assets but not the liabilities. The debts are to be recovered based on a special mechanism drawn by the Government.
Opposition, backed up by the "Teleradio-Moldova" employees protested against the lay-offs and annulling the company's debts. Majority faction, though, claimed that those modifications would allow the company to operate under new conditions. The draft was passed in the first reading, the next reading being postponed until the expertise and recommendations of the Council of Europe are received.