Public-private partnership on “Motor Terminals and Stations” was detrimental to public interest, report

The Government managed to adopt an absolutely hasty, unjustified and in parts absurd decision to establish a public-private partnership for the state-owned enterprise “Motor Terminals and Stations”. The authorities held a vitiated contest, with multiple violations of the legislation, and signed a public-private partnership contract detrimental to the public interest. Any monitoring of the fulfillment of the obligations by the private partner was neglected, says a report by the commission of inquiry into the privatization and concession of public property starting with 2013 that was presented in Parliament on February 13, IPN reports.

“The state-owned enterprise “Motor Terminals and Stations” was put on the list of works and services of public interest proposed for public–private partnerships by Government decision No. 419 of 2012. However, from 2012 until 2018, there was no public-private partnership conception or a bill to promote such a project. The presence on the list does not mean by far that the state intended to fully transfer management to private hands. This presence could refer to projects to renovate buildings or to cooperate in digitizing commercial operations, such as electronic tickets, for example. We should not forget that an annual flow of over 500 million lei is registered in the public transport. The enterprise is an essential element of the passenger road transport system. It serves over 80% of all the bus passengers,” stated the commission’s chairman Igor Munteanu.

According to him, since 2012 and until being transferred under private management, the state-owned enterprise “Motor Terminals and Stations” worked in a normal regime, without critical financial situations, and annually made a constant profit of about 5 million lei. Even so, it was decided to establish a public-private partnership.

The report says the main criteria for choosing the private partner were disproportionate to the goal of the public-private partnership. “It is not clear why the Government requested the future partners to have own capital or sufficient financial resources for insuring investments and operating cash flow of 400 million lei at a time when a total of about 200 million lei was to be invested during three years. It’s not clear how many companies in Moldova can meet such conditions,” stated the MP.

He added that the contest was won by one bid by an association consisting of an enterprise that was registered two days before submitting the bid, one more enterprise and a U.S. citizen.

Given the identified illegalities, the commission of inquiry requests the Public Property Agency to take immediate measures and compile a report on the monitoring of the public-private partnership and to launch the procedures for terminating the contract if the lack of progress and lack of a proper bank guarantee are identified. The law enforcement agencies are asked to investigate the actions of the Government, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, the Public Property Agency, the manager of the state-owned enterprise “Motor Terminals and Stations”, the commission for selecting the private partner so as to classify the identified abuses in accordance with the law.

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