Medical crisis will generate economic and humanitarian crises, opinion

The Moldovans are a very mobile nation with almost 1 million citizens abroad. Migration is a channel for propagating the socioeconomic and, evidently, medical impact of the crisis. Many of the migrants tried and continue to try to return home, exposing themselves and their families, relatives and even communities to the risk of further propagating the virus. An extraordinary effect of propagation of the negative consequences generated by the medical-economic and humanitarian crises already exists. The opinions were stated by the programs coordinator of the International Organization for Migration Office in Moldova Gennady Crețu in a debate staged by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, IPN reports.

Gennady Crețu said there are about 300,000-350,000 Moldovans in a more difficult situation who work on a short term abroad. They work based on biometric passports or without any contract or work permit. The most vulnerable ones represent yet 20-22%, which is 60,000-70,000 persons. These are exposed to the risk of immediately losing the jobs, the sources of existence and even the homes. These persons do housework in Italy and other states.

According to him, given that many Moldovans tried and continue to try to return home, it is very important to disseminate a message to make the diaspora more responsible. This can be propagated by the authorities and also with the involvement of the diaspora. “What can be done? Repatriation, evacuation through charter flights, but not everyone will be able to return,” stated Gennady Crețu. He noted that a dialogue is held with the authorities of the transit countries and countries with IOM offices as many persons got stuck in transit countries.

As regards the economic aspects, the IOM representative drew a parallel with the situation in 2008-2009. The then crisis determined the return of a part of the migrants home. Remittances declined owing to the fact that many lost their jobs. The remittances then diminished by 20% and this led to a 10% decrease in budget revenues. Currently, thousands of Moldovans will return home from abroad without jobs and without sources of existence, to an already affected business environment. Most probably, these could not be absorbed by the national labor market.

Discussions are now held with the donors to consider early businesses support and migrant reintegration programs by the model of Armenia, for example, which takes into account activities that envision support for starting businesses, training, guidance, financing, etc.

“Statistics show the remittances represent about 16% of the GDP  – US$1.2 billion last year. One third of the Moldovan families receive remittances and for half of this third the remittances constitute 50% of the disposable income. In rural areas, approximately 25% of the incomes of households come from remittances. A decline in the remittances would be absolutely dramatic and would bring many of these people to the poverty line,” stated Gennady Crețu.

According to him, remittances also play another role. They fuel the population’s purchasing power. A large part of the business community banks on those flows. Consumption is financed by remittances. A part of the remittances finance the real estate sector and this sector until recently was one of the driving forces of the economy.

The debate was organized by the Institute for European Policies and Reforms with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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