Expert-Grup: Domestic producers are caught between hammer and anvil

The legal norms providing that domestic producers can sell their alleged surplus from their own homestead are difficult to meet, especially by those who practice trade occasionally. As trade by the roadside is forbidden and access to the market for domestic producers is quasi impossible, conditions are created to perpetuate the risks of corruption and abuse on the part of players involved in the implementation of the related legal provisions, IPN reports.

A commentary by the program director of Expert-Grup Vitalie Rapcea and Expert-Grup trainee Nicoleta Cojocaru shows that the domestic producers often become itinerant traders not necessarily because they have a ‘surplus’, but also out of necessity because, possibly, they cannot pay their bills or have no other source of income.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) support this hypothesis. The unemployment rate is higher in rural areas. The employment rate in rural areas is only 37%, compared to 49% in urban areas. The rate of early leaving of the education system is twice higher in rural areas compared to urban areas, which significantly reduces the employment opportunities of these people. Of the total unemployed registered by the National Employment Agency in 2022, 67% were from rural areas. Recognizing this reality, the legal norms in force formally allow domestic producers to sell surplus production from their own homestead, including in markets.

The commentary also shows that in the absence of own transport, going to the market, with crates or basket with homemade products is, by definition, a process that involves a significant physical and financial effort. Domestic producers from localities located further from cities are disadvantaged in this respect. These have to make a greater effort, compared to domestic producers in suburbs. In many cases, they do not have access to direct transport routes to larger cities, where they are more likely to sell the fruit of their labor.

If, however, they managed to get safely to the city, after crowding the bus, domestic producers violently bump up against a highly bureaucratized regulatory framework that is out of touch with reality. As soon as they get off the bus and try to sell the surplus of their own production, domestic producers encounter another barrier – that of the contorted regulatory framework. The compliance conditions are so complex that they practically restrict the access of domestic producers to markets, driving them into the streets. Once they get to the market, the domestic producers find out that in order to be able to sell their merchandise, they must fill in a Declaration of household producer and present the identity document and the document confirming the owner or landowner right. If, by some miracle, domestic producers travel with all the original documents on them, then they can fill in the Declaration of household producer on paper. Otherwise, they either return home with the unsold merchandise or settle on the sidewalk where they try to sell the merchandise as quickly as possible, until the police come.

Thus, the authors of the commentary note, when they get to cities, domestic producers are caught between hammer and anvil. Victims of a precarious economic situation, they also end up being victims of regulations that are out of touch with reality.

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