Parliament activity, June 28 - July 2, 2004
6 July 2004
During the aforesaid period, Parliament was busy passing legal initiatives submitted by the President. These documents, especially the Code on Science triggered harsh debates both among the legislators and scientific community.
I. Law on Completion of the Law on Citizenship
ADEPT Comment: The law drafted by the Presidency is aimed at facilitating acquiring citizenship by persons who resided or still reside on the soil of the Republic of Moldova (including Transdnistrian region). Under the law, persons who resided on the soil of the Republic of Moldova prior to June 23, 1990 and still reside there are considered to be citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Currently, citizenship is granted with no restrictions to:
- person born on the soil of the Republic of Moldova, or persons who has at least one parent or grandparent born of the aforesaid soil;
- persons who resided in Bassarabia, North Bucovina, Herta and the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova, their heirs if they normally reside on the soil of the Republic of Moldova;
- persons deported or refugees from the soil of the Republic of Moldova commencing June 28, 1940, as well as their heirs.
Via the same law, Parliament exempted pensioners and disabled from the obligation to pass an exam on language and Constitution when they apply for citizenship. Opposition in Parliament criticized the latter provision. Still it was included in the law, on the grounds that those persons have neither physical nor psychological ability to comply with the provision.
II. Law on Modification of the Law on Preventing and Fighting Money Laundering
ADEPT Comment: The law raised the minimal ceiling on which banking form is to be filled by the natural or legal entity within three months. Respectively, a new norm was added to Article 4 of the law thereby natural entities are obliged to fill a special form for each transaction in cash exceeding 300,000 Lei, while organizations will have to do so for each transaction exceeding 500,000 Lei. The form shall be filled in case the transactions made throughout the month reach the aforesaid amount. It shall be submitted to Centre for Fighting Economic Crime and Corruption within 15 days, which may control any suspicious transaction and trace the money.
III. Law on Modification of Legal Acts on State Budget
ADEPT Comment: The law refers to the fiscal and budgetary policy Government intends to promote in 2005. It is recommended in the next year to:
- reduce by 2% the income tax for legal entities (this year it is 20%, whereas in 2005 Government it is proposed to be 18%);
- reducing income tax for natural entities by increasing the personal exemption from 3,600 Lei this year to 3,960 Lei in 2005, increasing annual exemption for persons in care from 240 Lei in 2004 to 600 lei in 2005, as well as reducing the maximal quota of taxation from 10%, 15% and 22% in 2004 to 9%, 14% and 20% in 2005 respectively.
Government believes those measures would boost economy, as businesses would be able to increase manufacturing output and invest in development.
Those fiscal measures would help bridge the gap between the exemptions to the income tax of natural entities and subsistence level. Also, they will contribute to the legalization of income of businesses and natural entities, which in turn would enlarge fiscal base and increase budget revenues.
Government is to take this law into consideration when drafting state budget for 2005, which is due to be submitted to Parliament by October 1.
IV. Draft Code on Science and Innovation
ADEPT Comment: The document was developed by the Academy of Science at the initiative of the Presidency and is aimed at "improving the climate in science and innovation, perfecting cooperation in the field, establishing adequate conditions for bolstering scientific research and transfer of know-how". There are several factors that makes a reform imperative:
- in the last 12 year the patrimony of the science sectors dropped to 90 - 95%;
- intellectual capital dropped from 33,000 to 7,500 researchers;
- science continues to be under funded;
- brain-drain continues;
- scientific outputs are not commercialized;
- lack of efficient interaction between science and education system.
The Code has three major tasks:
- establishing an innovation climate by creating juridical, fiscal and organizational incentives for those who are doing science, bolstering innovations and transfer of know-how;
- establishing a social comfortable and dynamic social climate, thereby science, education and innovations would become prestigious, where dispersed professional resources would turn into an ever-growing intellectual capital;
- establishing a new democratic administration culture, based on knowledge, openness and competence.
The Code would acknowledge and strengthen the role of the Academy of Science, which shall become "the only public institution of national importance working in the field of science and innovation". In addition, all the scientific projects shall be exclusively funded via the Academy, for which purpose it would conclude a four-year Partnership Agreement with the Government
The draft also envisages a change in evaluation methods and attestation of scientists. It is proposed to establish a National Council on Accreditation and Attestation - the public authority in evaluating organizations operating in the field of science and innovation and attesting professors in the field. All the state scientific institutions shall obligatorily undergo accreditation, whereas accreditation of private or non-governmental organizations shall be up to those organizations. Organizations that undergone attestation shall receive the institutional membership or affiliated membership. The first one entitles the organization to full funding of its scientific or innovation projects from the state budget.
Another important provision is the establishment of the Agency for Protecting Intellectual Property by merging the Agency for Protecting Industrial Property and Copyright Agency.
The draft also provides for:
- establishing a system of financial incentives for scientists;
- increasing scholarships for PhDs;
- increasing the quota allotted to science in GDP.
The draft gathered a rich harvest of criticism. Many deputies, including in the majority faction opposed the draft on the grounds that its enforcement would only boost bureaucracy and concentration of resources which might in the end discourage any initiative from affiliated institutions. It is still unclear how academic community feels about the draft as it was not subject to public debates. In the end the Code was adopted in the first reading, meanwhile the provisions should be worked out.
V. Draft law on e-commerce
ADEPT Comment: Yet another initiative of the President envisaging e-commerce was passed in the first reading. The draft establishes the legal framework for e-commerce, principles of state support and regulation of e-commerce, etc. The main provisions refer to:
- freedom to practice e-commerce without a license being needed;
- equality in rights of legal and natural persons in e-commerce;
- not allowing priorities or limitations of rights of the subject of the e-commerce;
- non limitation of e-commerce to certain categories of goods or certain territories.
VI. Draft law on modification of the Law on Manufacturing Cooperatives
ADEPT Comment: The draft is aimed at undercutting negative trends in agriculture and also boost the establishment of manufacturing cooperatives in agriculture.
Under the draft, members of the cooperative voluntarily transfer into the cooperative property agricultural plots for a 30 years period. The cooperative would use the agricultural plots in line with the law and bylaws of the cooperative and would act in the best interest of the plot owners.
The draft was harshly debated on the grounds it would revive soviet type kolkhoz and would deprive owners of their land. Lawmakers argued that it is necessary to concentrate the plots as well as production means.