Mariana Rufa: Government is between two presses

The government is currently between two presses. On the one hand, it has to act in the uncertain pandemic conditions. On the other hand, there is considerable political pressure, executive director of the European Business Association Mariana Rufa said in IPN’s public debate “Crisis in Moldova as an indicator of missed opportunities and an occasion for changes”.

“The elections are coming and in the context of the moves that started to be taken in Parliament, the coordination and promotion of a number of draft laws failed. The parliamentary commissions do not have sufficient votes to approve them. It sometimes happens that we don’t know who to talk to about our proposals that are very important and expected in the current situation,” stated Mariana Rufa.

However, she considers the government did its best in this difficult situation. “I want to note that the dialogue with our and other associations was very active, even if not all our proposals were accepted. But the problem resides not in this, but in the fact that the government’s maneuvering space is limited,” noted the economist.

She considers the consequences of the pandemic crisis revealed several opportunities for developing the economy that were missed. “It first of all goes to electronic trading and the government should maximally facilitate the development of this sector by promoting and protecting electronic signatures, liberalizing the market and digitizing state services. They are now more necessary than ever, but we don’t see political will to promote this process, especially at the local level. What they did there was to raise taxes. Nowhere in the world did they increase taxes during the pandemic, but in our country they did it,” she stated.

The fiscal and economic measures are the second unused possibility. “The Ministry of Finance only cancelled the audits and relaxed the report presentation process, but this is not enough as many of the enterprises remained without liquidity and lost the ability to fulfill their financial obligations. Borrowing money from a bank remained the only chance for them. But this way out is not always the best,” noted Mariana Rufa.

She gave the situation in the hospitality industry as an example. “This industry consist not only the hotels and restaurants, but also of a whole network of suppliers and producers for which the hospitality industry ensures 20 to 50% of their incomes. Closing this network means paralyzing all these enterprises.”

According to the expert, the crisis also revealed shortcomings in implementing provisions of the Association Agreement with the EU, in particular in the phytosanitary and veterinary sectors. The non-implementation of the plan in these spheres led to the blocking of crossborder exports.

The public debate entitled “Crisis in Moldova as an indicator of missed opportunities and an occasion for changes” was held as part of the project “Overcoming European integration stereotypes through communication” that is implemented by IPN News Agency with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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