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Gazprom has increased gas prices for Moldova

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From January 1, 2019, the price of natural gas delivered to Moldova by the Russian giant Gazprom is $237.46 for a thousand cubic meters. This tariff is only valid for the first quarter of this year, according to an answer for Mold-street.com, given by the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE).

Thus, the import cost of Russian methane delivered by Gazprom in the first three months of this year is higher by about 25% compared to the import price of the same period last year.

According to ANRE data in 2018, 1.13 billion cubic meters of gas were imported into the Republic of Moldova (not considering the Transnistrian region), with about 9.3% more (almost 96 million cubic meters) than in 2017.

Economy

EU4Moldova.md – the platform of EU-funded technical assistance projects in Moldova was launched

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The Delegation of the European Union to Moldova has launched a new platform – EU4Moldova.md, which displays information about the projects realised and funded by the EU in the Republic of Moldova in various sectors, such as DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area), Agriculture, Economy and Business, Energy, Transport and Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development, Justice and Police, PA (Public Administration), Culture, Science and Education, Health Care, Civil Society and Human Rights, as well as Cross Border Cooperation.

On October 15th, the presentation of the platform took place. The head of the EU Delegation, Peter Michalko, mentioned that during the entire period of cooperation, over 1 000 projects were carried out in Moldova, which had a direct impact on about 500 000 citizens and, indirectly, almost on the entire population of the country, reported INFOTAG News Agency.

“There have been projects in the field of economy, small and medium-sized enterprises, which have created about 15 000 jobs. We provided significant assistance to businesses, local public organisations, and offered young people opportunities to establish contacts and relationships with their European peers,” said Michalko.

The head of the EU delegation noted that the platform is a representation of the fact that the EU support encompasses all localities and all citizens of the republic.

“We provided assistance to the consolidation of state institutions. At the same time, the field of justice is important, […] so that citizens can live in a country where fair justice, equality before the law, fight against corruption and money laundering are priorities.”

At the same time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Nicu Popescu, considers that Moldova must set its strategic objective to move from the consumption of external financial assistance to its granting. As Nicu Popescu stated, it is necessary to increase budget revenues through implementation of the budget reforms, corruption fight and investment attraction. The budget surplus must be directed towards the self-development of social and economic infrastructure, afterwards to support of other countries.

“We, as a society, must not end up in the situation when we ask for help. Our partners in foreign capitals kindly offer their help. But I do not feel comfortable in such a situation and we, as a society, must not perceive the fact that we always ask for help as a normal situation. Our task is to use external assistance, but also to ask ourselves the question: how can we help achieve EU priorities?” he said.

Source: eu4moldova.md

According to EU4Moldova.md, Moldova is the largest recipient of EU aid per capita in the European Neighbourhood, receiving more than 600 million euros from the EU funds. The largest amounts were directed to the Transport and Infrastructure, Justice and Police, and Energy sectors.

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Economy

Unaffordable prices for low quality transportation services in Moldova or the apple of discord among carriers and the Government

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The Employers Association of Car Transport Operators from Moldova organised a protest yesterday and today. More than 250 transport units have been brought to the city centre of Chișinău, and about 250 other units are stationed in villages and district centres. That means 586 trips of 124 regular routes were suspended.

The carriers require the adjustment of the tariffs for transportation by doubling them (from 0.48 lei/km to 0.92 lei/km). On the other hand, the Government officials consider that only after providing decent transport conditions for passengers, the request of tariff adjustment can be discussed. In the meantime, people have to wait for hours for public transportation all over the country.

The <<Marshrutka>> phenomenon

The public transportation in Moldova is not expensive at all from an outside perspective. There are few countries on the European continent where one can travel from the airport to the city centre of a city for 0.10 euro. The prices for longer distance travel using mainly the so-called marshrutkas (fixed-route minivans) and sometimes buses may also look more than affordable. Nonetheless, due to low income, these prices seem high for the main client segment – the local population.

Moreover, passengers in Moldova accept and tolerate to travel standing and ‘packed like sardines’ (as local people like to say) sometimes their whole route. Some people still approach the driver to pay, that meaning their ticket money are not officially recorded and paid. The schedule of busses and minivans is sometimes confusing and not accurate, the transport services being provided on old and insecure vehicles.

The protest of transportation companies

According to protesters, the last change of tariffs took place six years ago and they incur losses because of this. Oleg Alexa, the president of the Employers’ Association of Car Transport Operators, explained for Moldova.org that there is a Government decision, approved ten years ago, which provides for the adjustment of tariffs in the transportation area once a year. However, the decision was not respected. The last adjustment of the tariffs was made six years ago, in November 2013, and was obtained by addressing the matter to the court. That time, the tariffs were increased from 0.38 to 0.48 lei/km.

“We are basically all bankrupt and we have a staff shortage of 3,000 employees.”

At the same time, during the negotiations with the representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the carriers have presented a list of proposals that could cause the tariff not to increase so much. That means carriers require partially maintaining the current conditions of passengers’ transportation, namely reusing transport units, transporting passengers standing up to 50 km, combating illicit passenger transport, importing transport units up to a certain age, eliminating abusive tax controls, etc. If the authorities will consider the carriers’ proposals, they would be willing to accept a lower tariff than the one requested during the protest, as Oleg Alexa stated.

At the same time, the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure declared that the Government is against increasing the tariffs on transport, specifying that the adjustment of the tariffs can only be discussed after the passengers will be provided with civilised travel conditions.

In a press release, the Government disapproved the decision of the carriers to suspend 600 trips, thus blocking the movement of citizens, motivating the strike by the refusal of the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure to increase the tariffs on national road services.

The experts’ opinion

Economic experts say that the request of the carriers is justified, but the tariffs should be increased gradually, in order to not affect the citizens.

The economic expert Veaceslav Ioniță declared that the carriers have at least 50% higher costs as compared to six years ago. This is mainly due to the basic components of tariffs – employees’ salaries, the cost of spare parts and fuel price, which have all increased.

According to him, the authorities impose more and more stringent requirements on the carriers, which means that the carriers can no longer use old cars, but have to buy well-maintained cars, that implying additional costs.

As for the requested increase of tariffs, the expert claims that it is obvious that the carriers “requested an exaggerated tariff, hoping that they will reach a middle ground at the negotiations.” In the same context, he noted, however, that the current government has a reason to be upset about the carriers. This is because they have not taken such actions in the past, during the six years since the tariffs were maintained.

At the same time, Ioniță warned that tariffs are politicised in Moldova. “They are approved by the authorities. It is not an independent regulation. Because of this, carriers are also vulnerable,” claimed Ioniță.

As it seems, the protests of the carriers will continue and the public transportation problem in the Republic of Moldova will not be so easy to be solved, as several contradicting interests exist. One thing is clear: Moldovan passengers of national and international routes have to suffer in this situation.

Photo: ipn.md

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Economy

A $46.1 million instalment of the IMF financing programme has been disbursed to Moldova

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According to a notice made today by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Moldova, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has allocated and disbursed a new $ 46.1 million instalment to the Republic of Moldova, based on the assessment of the progress made in meeting the undertaken commitments.  About $ 27.5 million are designated to support the state budget.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the first disbursement of $30.7 million was made on September 24th, out of which $18.4 million (through the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) financing mechanism) were intended to support the state budget. The remaining $15.4 million were disbursed on September 30th. An amount of $9.1 million was meant to support the state budget through the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) financing mechanism.

The Ministry reiterated that on November 7th, 2016, the Board of Directors of the IMF approved a three-year Program with the Republic of Moldova. The financial support of approximately $178.7 million was supposed to be granted to Moldova in several instalments, aiming to support the reforms promoted by the Government. The amount of $91.4 million had already been disbursed under the existing financing program.

During October 2 – 8, 2019, a staff team of the International Monetary Fund led by Ruben Atoyan is on a working visit to Chișinău.

Photo: seenews.com

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