Parliament activity, July 5-9, 2004
13 July 2004
This week Parliament continued examining draft laws submitted by the Presidency as well as several draft laws aimed at improving the situation in agriculture.
I. Law on Single Tax in Agriculture
ADEPT Comment: The law provides for establishing a single tax in agriculture, which is to be tested in a pilot project in Taraclia rayon. The single tax would include the income tax, VAT (except for VAT on imports), taxes on real estate, taxes to road fund, tax on water and territory planning. The other taxes and fees, not subject to this law, shall be paid according to the law. The law defines the subjects of the law, tax quota and exemptions.
(For more details see Parliament Activity June 7-11, 2004)
II. Law on the Subsidized Insurance of Risks of Agricultural Production
ADEPT Comment: During the final reading of the law opposition suggested that state should cover 60% of the insurance. As they failed to provide solid arguments in support of their position, majority faction rejected the suggestion arguing that opposition could have operated the amendment while it was in power.
The importance of the law stems from the fact that Moldovan agriculture is very much buffeted by natural calamities. That is why insurance market in this field is practically absent - insurances in agriculture accounts for only 2% of the total insurance market, and this despite the fact that agriculture is the future of the country's economy. So far, state's assistance to farmers upon natural calamities has been quite meagre.
The law aims at establishing a transparent mechanism of boosting insurance in agriculture so as to bring stability in agriculture development. The law defines insured risk as any natural calamity that incurs a damage to farms or fisheries, or any other unfavourable event producing damages. Preliminary estimates have indicated that allocations from state budget worth 40 million Lei are necessary for subsidizing insurance of the risks of agricultural production, with 15 million Lei needed in the first year.
(For more details see Parliament Activity June 7-11, 2004)
III. Law on the Modification of Legal Acts on Minors Leaving the Country
ADEPT Comment: The law was developed at the initiative of the President and made passport compulsory for minors when leaving the country, as well as consent of both parents whenever the child is leaving for permanent resident in other country. Under the law, any citizen may get a passport even upon birth (currently only children older than 10 are entitled to passport).
The law is intended to prevent traffic of minors. Christian-Democrats objected the amendments on the grounds they would put additional financial burden on the parents. They also accused ruling party of trying to secure as many revenues to the state budget in view of upcoming electoral campaign.
IV. Law on Approving Regulation on Badge and Identity Card of the Elected Officer
ADEPT Comment: Parliament approved the sample and regulation on elected officer's identity card and badge. Identity card is the main document confirming the prerogatives of the elected officer as an official person on the soil of the first or second level administrative-territorial unit. Under the law, both identity card and badges shall be produced by the Government and issued to elected officials: mayors (for local councillors and deputy mayors); Chairperson of the rayon (for rayon councillors, rayon mayors and rayon deputy Chairs); Prime-Minister (for rayon Chair, Mayors of Chisinau and Balti).
Several objections were voiced with regard to translation of the documents into English. For the second reading deputies agreed that the document should be only translated into Russian.
V. Resolution on approving the structure of the General Prosecution
ADEPT Comment: Under the resolution the following are to be part of the Prosecution General:
- Prosecutor General
- Senior Deputy of the Prosecutor General
- Deputies of the Prosecutor General
- Prosecutor General Apparatus
- Department of enforcement of penal investigation
- Department of conducting penal investigation
- Control department over penal investigation
- Legal Department
- General Investigation Department
- Administrative and Financial Department
- Prosecutors for special missions
- HR Department
- Internal Security Department
- Personnel Training Department.
Organizational chart, internal structures, roles and responsibilities of each department shall be outlined in the Prosecutor General's decision. During the hearing in Parliament it was mentioned that 30% of the employees from the central apparatus are to be reduced and transferred to regional or specialized structures of the Prosecution Office.
VI. Resolution on enforcing state budget for 2003
ADEPT Comment: The Report on enforcing state budget for 2003 was approved via the said resolution, namely:
- revenues worth 4573,3 million Lei;
- expenditures worth 4255,1 million Lei; surplus in revenues over expenditures worth 318,2 million Lei.
The report indicates continuous economic growth, a 6.3% GDP growth over 2002 or 27,297 million Lei. On the other hand, budgetary and fiscal policies promoted by the Government throughout 2003 produced a smaller impact than expected. Thus, budget fell short of 95.9 million Lei, namely:
- Excises on petrol and diesel budget line felt short of 47.5 m Lei (89% of the forecast);
- Excises on wine, cognac budget line felt short of 23.9 m Lei (37.2%).
State budget provided for transfers of funds for territorial development worth 708.3 m Lei, however only 89.2% of the budgeted amount was transferred. Some of the allocations were un-proportionally distributed, for instance Balti Municipality and Gagauz Yeri received 100% of the funds, whereas other regions only 78%.
To address the shortcomings identified the Government is to take certain measures:
- to develop and approve a single mechanism of concentrating all financial sources including extra-budgetary funds to the revenues item of the state budget;
- to spend the reserve fund of the Government as provided for;
- to monitor capital investments;
- to take measures to reduce domestic and foreign debt, etc.
VII. Draft Enforcement Code
ADEPT Comment: Draft Enforcement Code was passed in the first reading on November 23, 2000 and was to be worked out for the second reading. Hence, a number of important acts were passed: Civil Code, Penal Code, Code of Penal Procedure, Code of Civil Procedure, Labour Code, etc. Meanwhile, the draft was submitted for expertise at the Council of Europe and other relevant bodies.
The draft of the Enforcement Code examined by the Parliament was different from the initial one, which was passed in the first reading. Hence, it was decided to revote the text, it included two chapters:
- Chapter I - Enforcement of civil rulings;
- Chapter II - Enforcement of penal rulings.
The Code includes 330 articles and refers to: independence of the executors and the status of the officers of the Department of enforcement and executors, penalty for the failure to comply with the requirements of the judicial executor; establishing Complaints Department thereby civil society will monitor how legal provisions are enforced.
VIII. Draft law on precious metals and gems
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading outlines the state policy in the field and state control over production, use and circulation of precious metals and gems. The law defines such notions as precious metal, gems, ingot, jewellery items, jewellery, scraps containing precious metals, scraps containing precious metals and gems.
The draft also provides for: state goal, tasks, and control over activities involving precious metals and gems; rights and obligations of the legal and natural entities working with precious metals and gems; state treasury of precious metals and gems; production, processing, use and circulation of precious metals and gems.
The draft seeks to define the legal framework in the field of precious metals and gems, establish a level playing field for all the businesses, and regulate the market. Currently the market is flooded with smuggled items of questionable quality with no state mark applied, which are sold at lower prices than the domestically manufactured ones.
IX. Draft on indemnities for temporary inability to work and other social payments
ADEPT Comment: The draft passed in the first reading envisages the social insurance fund. The law provides for unifying all the types of social assistance, such as indemnity for temporary inability to work; maternity indemnity, indemnity for raising a child or raising a seak child; unemployed aid, etc.
X. Draft law on amnesty on the tenth anniversary of adopting the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova
ADEPT Comment: The draft is yet another initiative of the President of the Republic of Moldova. On July 29, 2004 we would celebrate tenth anniversary of the Constitution. On this occasion it is recommended to amnesty convicts. The law outlines the category of convicts subject to amnesty such as minors, pregnant women, 1 and 2 degree handicapped, and persons older than 69 years of age. Also the law provides for reducing the term of conviction provided material damages are redressed.
It is expected that the move would somehow improve the situation in the penitentiary system, which is overcrowded and under funded.
XI. Draft law on electronic document and digital signature
ADEPT Comment: Again the draft is an initiative of the Presidency. It seeks to establish legal conditions for the circulation of e-documents and digital signatures. The law shall regulate social relations between legal and / or natural entities upon creating, transmitting, receiving, storing and other use of e-documents and digital signatures including when making transactions, payments, as well as other cases provided by law. The law defines such notions as private key, public key and e-document.
It is expected that the e-document would be used by legal and natural entities in all the fields. Also, several norms are to be introduced with regard to electronic circulation of the documents, legal force of the digital signature, certification of public keys and digital signatures, state control in the field, etc.