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Economy

Getting citizenship for investments: is it good or bad?

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Granting citizenship to the people having invested into the Moldovan economy is a form of passively capitalizing on Moldova’s status as an internationally recognized country. At the same time, luring investors through international forums and exhibitions, what does have a right to exist, has turned up being not so efficient and may not be viewed as an exclusive tool to interact with and attract foreign investments.

The Moldovan economy goes on feeding on remittances, as the exports – although up 38% (in January-February 2018) – are not capable though to unleash the overgrowth badly needed for the essential improvement of the living standard. Under these circumstances is or is not the program of granting citizenship for investments the panacea, the element able to miraculously boost the economic growth? Certainly, the answer is ‘no.’ The program can yield contingent effects, as raising the amount of direct foreign investment, as a substantial increase of the financial flows to Moldova and implicitly shaping the investment climate so much talked about for so long.

The Economy Ministry assesses an investment flow of about 1.3 bn euros, a difficult thing to assess as the program is launched for the first time and there is no any market response as to the Moldovan passport yet. Still there is a steady demand for such services on the international market: businesspeople having to migrate because of various reasons ask for a second citizenship. For example, according to a study carried out by CS Global Partners in the UK in 2017, about 89% of the British would like having a second citizenship, and about 34% made the effort to find out how such a one may be acquired.

Most countries do have programs of gaining investor visas or citizenship, what’s more these people are sought for in a tough luring competition. If suich countries as the USA, the UK or Switzerland but display the eligibility conditions, in Moldova’s case, this strategy won’t work because of competitive attractiveness of the Moldovan passport compared to the British or American ones, for instance. Hiring a company specialized in providing such services as Henley&Partners is highly increases the chances of attaining the program goals, given Henley&Partners’ experience in providing a wide range of services for potential applicants, but also its massive database of clients and potential applicants.

The risks implied and the critique targeting such programs of gaining citizenship through investments – hinting it’s an illegal scheme of money laundering – are detached from the real context such programs unfold in. First, these services are provided by companies often related to renowned consulting firms, which would incur reputational risks and would be liable to criminal investigation in many countries. Second, gaining one’s citizenship is a public act, your name becomes public what is not proper for “the strategies” used to launder money, which need interposed persons, shell companies and fake identities for short times. Third, as the campaign is going on at the national scale, were it a money laundering scheme, it would have immediately draw the attention of Moldova’s development partners: the USA, the EU, the IMF and other international financial entities.

And last but not least, all the applicants will be checked up by law-enforcing bodies and the Interpol, as the law provides for.

Roman Chircă, director of Market Economy Institute

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Economy

Good news! A motorway that connects European Union and Republic of Moldova could be built

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On November 7th, the representatives of the Romanian parliament adopted a law that enables the construction of a 318 km long motorway on the territory of Romania. 261 deputies out of 268 voted for promulgating of the respective law.

According to the designed project, the motorway will make the connection between a planned bridge at the border with Republic of Moldova and the A3 motorway Brașov-Borș in the neighbourhood of the city Târgu-Mureș. The most difficult segment of the road to be constructed will lay in the mountain area, where tunnel digging, and viaduct building will be needed.

The total planned cost for the motorway construction is estimated to be four billion dollars. The main financing sources include the Romanian Government budget through the Transportation Ministry budget, external loans, as well as European grants and/or public-private partnerships.

The planned motorway from Targu-Mures to the border of Republic of Moldova| Photo source: realitateafinanciara.net

During the implementation of the project, the yearly government budget law will specify the amount of appropriations that will be allocated to this objective, according to the financial necessities communicated by the Transportation Ministry. The latter will be responsible for the coordination of the works and for starting the procedures required for the investment within 30 days following the date of entry into force of the law.

The law in question was initiated by 70 senators and deputies from all parties that are members of the Romanian parliament. It was especially supported by the members of NLP (National Liberal Party) and SRU (Save Romania Union) that displayed unionist messages like “Moldova asks for the highway” and “The highway of the Great Union.” More information on the topic here.

As the motorways are designed for high speed vehicular traffic, they need a special infrastructure and a higher amount of investments than any other type of roads. In the European Union the number of motorways has tripled in the last 30 years, the most extensive motorway networks being in Germany, France and Spain, according to Eurostat.

Total length of motorways map (km) 2016| Photo source: ec.europa.eu

In Romania, the total length of the motorways is more than 786 km, according to the most recent data and the network is still planned to be extended.

Romania ‘s motorway map 2018| Photo source: 130km.ro

Republic of Moldova has no built motorways until this moment.

Featured photo source: startrescue.co.uk

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Economy

Moldova will receive €30.1 million to strengthen the land system

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Moldova will receive €30.1 million for the land registration and land registration project. Today, the Government approved the draft law for ratification of the Financing Agreement between our country and the International Development Association, signed in Chisinau on 17 September 2018.

The assigned money will be allocated for primary and real estate valuation, consolidation of project management and land management. At the same time, the project will also be based on the current work of the Government and the World Bank on the modernization of the tax administration and government services (eGovernment).

The partnership framework of the Republic of Moldova with the World Bank provides financial support for our country through several instruments.

Until now, the World Bank has allocated over $1 billion to more than 60 projects in various areas.

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Economy

The Moldovan currency passes the Prut river. It will be accepted for foreign exchange and banking transactions in Romania

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The Moldovan Leu will be accepted for foreign exchange and banking transactions in Romania, thanks to the cooperation of the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) with the Romanian Commercial Bank and Banca Transilvania.

The MDL / RON exchange service will be available from October 1, 2018, at the branches and counters of the main Romanian cities. The Romanian Commercial Bank is the sole shareholder of Romanian Commercial Bank of Chişinău S.A., and Banca Transilvania is a major shareholder, together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), BC “Victoriabank” S.A.

Romania is the first trading partner of the Republic of Moldova, with 26% of exports and 14% of Moldovan imports in the first half of the year.

The widespread acceptance of the Moldovan leu for foreign exchange outside the Republic of Moldova is an important first step and represents an additional step towards strengthening the credibility and convertibility of the national currency.

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