Activity of the Parliament on May 30 - June 3, 2005
9 June 2005
Parliamentarians debated on several draft laws on June 2, in particular, on introduction of amendments to old laws. Also, the Parliament passed a new law which regulates the statute of botanical gardens, in the final reading. It is worth to mention that a consumer protection organization was holding a news conference when the legislature was adopting this law, and claimed that the Botanical Garden in the Chisinau municipality is abusively administrated, while the Environment Ministry leases it to a private company, which raises profits from prohibited activities rather than improves the situation of this scientific institution.
A draft law on pay of indemnities to detainees, which will be used to issue identity documents to detainees, if they do not hold them, raised a special attention.
Also, the examination in the second reading of a law which empowers the Labor Inspection with the right to apply administrative sanctions provoked ardent debates. A new situation was observed in the Parliament on this occasion - the absence of several lawmakers from the Communist majority faction halts the adoption of some organic laws. Thus, the votes of the 51 lawmakers representing the ruling Communist Party of Moldova were not enough to promote this law at the very beginning, and this situation generated ardent talks and mutual accusations between the majority and opposition factions. Also, some opposition deputies obstructed their own faction colleagues and supported drafts promoted by majority.
However, the Parliament debated on several important laws which shall be given a thorough consideration below.
I. Law on Botanical Gardens
Commentary by ADEPT: Under the adopted law, a distinct juridical regime will be in effect for botanical gardens, which will hold a statute of public science and innovation institutions subordinated to the Moldovan Academy of Sciences or local public administration authorities. This statute will exempt them from some state taxes and fees, and will allow them to attract internal and external financing, including from the private sector.
The law says that the botanical gardens are created through delimitation of grounds and/or water areas under a special management regime for conservation, adaptation and regeneration under best artificial conditions of sorts of local, allochthon and exotic plants, which are significant from scientific, economic and esthetic points of view.
Constructions in botanical gardens must be based on a project approved by the Moldovan Academy of Sciences and documents on town planning and territorial arrangement.
Sale and leasing of fields which are part of public botanical gardens are prohibited, while their withdrawal must be based on a decision of the Parliament, a proposal of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, and an agreement of the central environment authority, only if they lose their value after natural disasters or catastrophes, and if they cannot be restored.
Under the law, botanical gardens are created to ensure the protection, maintenance, reproduction, reasonable use of bio-diversity of vegetal world, ecological, cultural and esthetic education, and recreation of population. The key tasks of scientific activity of botanical gardens comprise among others:
- creation of collections and exhibitions of local and allochthon plants;
- conservation of diversity of plants and other botanical objects of scientific, education, economic, and cultural importance;
- scientific botanical researches;
- research of diversity of species of plants in the Moldovan territory and elaboration of scientific bases for its reasonable use;
- publication of scientific works, monographs, handbooks, magazines to popularize the science;
- creation of seed funds; organization of exchange of seeds and plants;
- elaboration of scientific bases of landscape architecture;
The law stipulates the possibility for botanical gardens to practice economic activities with the purpose to raise extra-budgetary financial means for maintenance and development. These activities comprise among others:
- production and sale of seeding material, seeds for flowers and trees;
- elaboration and implementation of dendrological, arrangement and green projects;
- organization and conduct of paid-for excursions in open and protected territory;
- conduct of joint economic activities with individuals or businesses inside or outside the Botanical Garden.
A Chisinau-based nongovernmental consumer protection organization has described a leasing contract between the Environment Ministry and a private firm as doubtful, saying that the Botanical Garden is destroyed through trade objects, massive manifestations improper to the statute of scientific institution, instead of being protected.
To avoid abuses of this kind, the new law restricts a number of activities in botanical gardens, including:
- unauthorized hunting, fishing and seizure of animals;
- construction of objects and depots, including temporary ones, for storage of chemical substances and mineral fertilizers;
- installation of heating networks, electricity transportation lines; technical water works;
- geological excavations;
- unauthorized cutting or clearing of trees, bushes, saplings, other plants;
- destruction or deterioration of brushwood or sapling-covered areas;
- unauthorized harvesting and collection of medical plants, flowers, fruits;
- traffic of transports except for roads of common use or special fields.
II. Law on Granting Facilities to Residents of Transdnistrian Region
Commentary by ADEPT: The Parliament adopted this law that exempts the electricity and natural gas supplies, telecommunication services, water and sewerage services provided by businesses based in Moldova but without any fiscal relations with its budgetary system from Value-Added Tax.
Also, the law compensates the difference of tariffs for electricity and natural gas used by residents of the village of Varnita in Anenii-Noi. The need of this law was due to the fact that the Varnita residents receive electricity and natural gas from enterprises on the left bank of the Dniester river, but do not benefit from compensations for these services.
III. Law on Amendment of the Code on Administrative Contraventions
Commentary by ADEPT: The law adopted by the Parliament calls for introduction of a "conventional unit" as administrative sanction instead of the minimum salary. Thus, the fine will be established in conventional units, while a conventional unit will be equivalent with 20 lei. At present, the 18-leu minimum salary as measurement unit is used to calculate rises, additions and supplements to payments for work, and it was introduced on June 1, 1994.
However, the notion of minimum salary represents the minimum size of the wage in lei, established by state for a simple, unqualified work, which the employer must respect it to pay for the work that the employee is doing a month or an hour.
The law on calculation of minimum salary was adopted in 2000 and it stipulated that the executive must present proposals on adjustment of the legislation in effect to this law within two months. The situation in this sector was not entirely changed after about five years, and many payments for budgetary workers are calculated on basis of the 18-leu minimum salary, which is no more an adequate economic category for quite a long time.
IV. Law on Granting Labor Inspection the Right to Administrative Sanctioning
Commentary by ADEPT: The law adopted by the Parliament provoked ardent debates during talks in the first reading, but most of opposition lawmakers and certain representatives of the parliamentary majority did not warm the empowerment of one more body with the right to administrative sanctioning.
Few new arguments in favor of this law were voiced in the second reading, while the main of them indicated findings of previous controls regarding violations of the labor protection legislation.
The law gathered the constitutional number of votes at the first try to adopt it, but an opposition lawmaker annulled later his positive vote under the pressure of his colleagues, and this action provoked controversial talks, but the Communist lawmakers ensured the presence of one more representative of their faction and approved the law with 52 votes.
V. Draft law on introduction of state allocations for persons who take care of blind invalids
Commentary by ADEPT: The draft law adopted in the first reading proposes the introduction of a 150-leu monthly indemnity for people capable of work who take care of 1st-degree blind invalids at home. The total cost of this draft is estimated at 5 million lei a year.