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Economy

Moldova signs electricity supply contract with Ukrainian DTEK Trading, putting Cuciurgan power plant from Transnistria aside

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On 31 March 2017, Energocom signed with the Ukrainian “DTEK Trading” a contract of electricity supply to Moldova between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.

Thus, the electricity operators from Moldova- ÎCS Gas Natural Fenosa Furnizare Energie SRL, ÎCS Red Union Fenosa SA, Furnizare Energie Electrică Nord, ÎS Moldelectrica, SA Red Nord and SA Red Nord Vest- signed the supply contracts with a price of 50,2 USD for 1 MWh.

Another offer, proposed by the previous supplier- Cuciurgan power plant, controlled by the Russian “INTERAO” and situated in the Transnistrian region-, was rejected because of higher price- 58,5 USD/MWh in the first round of the contest, 54,4 USD/MWh. Energocom’s offer from DTEK Trading was more advantageous due to the future savings of some 300 million lei.

The public listing of offers was monitored by the national electricity operators and the Observers’ Group formed of representatives of the Economy Ministry, National Agency for Energy Regulation, EU Delegation and the Secretariat of the Energy Community.

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Economy

3 UN agencies will receive 1 million dollars for supporting the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients from Moldova

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Three United Nations (UN) agencies from Moldova – UNICEF, UN Women and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will receive one million dollars from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the country in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release of the UN in Moldova.

The agencies are involved in a programme lasting for 6 months and aiming to ensure effective and accessible health services for COVID-19 patients in Moldova, with a focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged persons. 

Mainly, the funds will be used for purchase of personal protective equipment for health and non-health institutions, such as hospitals, police, border police, penitentiaries, social assistance centres and others “in order to ensure efficient and safe provision of public services during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Additionally, such supplies as sanitisers, protective supplies, food packages (for at least two months), soap, etc. will be transmitted to the most vulnerable groups of women from Moldova, including women affected by violence, women living in shelters, HIV and AIDS positive women, disabled women, and Romani women.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection data, out of the total of 7147 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Moldova, 59% are represented by women. Most infected women are between 40 and 69 years old. 67 infected women are pregnant.

Photo: UN Moldova

“The global epidemic of COVID-19 poses a clear risk to the health and well-being of the Republic of Moldova. Within this project, the control and management of the infection at the border control points of the country will be strengthened by updating and disseminating of international standards-compliant operating procedures for detection, notification, isolation, management and referral of travellers potentially infected with coronavirus, delivering necessary training for the border police officers, providing necessary supplies to screen the incoming citizens to prevent the spread of the disease,” is mentioned in the press release.

The United Nations in Moldova has been supporting the Government of Moldova and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection in three main areas: health system preparedness, technical support and capacity building, and risk information and communication on COVID-19 under the guidance of WHO Moldova.

The United Nations (UN) COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund is a UN inter-agency finance mechanism launched by the UN Secretary-General to support low- and middle- income programme countries in overcoming the health and development crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund’s assistance targets those most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption.

The fund is currently supported by the Governments of Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Photo: Iran Press

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Economy

Coronavirus drains the wine industry

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Until the coronavirus pandemic, the Moldovan wine industry was flourishing. In 2019, Moldova exported 15,67 million decalitres of wine, while the total exports’ value reached 3,086 billion lei. Most of the Moldovan wine arrived in China, Romania, and the Russian Federation.

In a country where winegrowing accounts for 7% of total exports and 3% of the country’s GDP, the coronavirus pandemic has hit small producers hard, disrupting the plans of the big players of the industry as well.

About five wineries were forced to temporarily cease their activity, as their employees were massively infected with COVID-19.

On April 25, villages of Etulia and Cismichioi, from Vulcanesti district, were put into quarantine. That happened after four locals who were employed at Etulia Winery, which is part of Bostavan Wineries Group, tested positive for COVID-19. Next, it was decided to test all employees and their relatives for coronavirus – a total of 174 persons, out of which 77 were infected.

Source: Wine of Moldova

“Wine products are not essential”

83% of the wine produced in the Republic of Moldova last year was exported. Data for March showed that export volume decreased by 9% and export value by 11%, as compared to the same period in 2019.

According to the evaluations made by the National Office for Vine and Wine (NOVV), this year exports of wine products may decrease by 30% or even 50%, as compared to 2019.

Head of the Policy and Regulation Service in the Field of Wine Products Sector within the Ministry of Agriculture, Liliana Dascaliuc, said that exports were reduced by 20% in the first three months of 2020, although the data are preliminary. “Winegrowing will be affected in the same way as the entire agriculture, even the whole economy. Wine and wine products are not essential,” commented the expert.

Zero income

Vlada Vutcarau is the co-founder of the ATU urban winery, a family business that produces up to 40 000 bottles a year. The coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency have reduced sales by 90%, while the tourism activity has zero income. “We are talking about huge losses. We continue to produce, but the revenues come from sales, not from production,” explained Vlada.

Facebook| ATU Winery

However, there is a positive aspect – according to the young woman – the business has moved online and “we focused on the local producer. When buying local, we invest in our people and the money stays in the country.”

88% of Moldovan companies are negatively affected by the declining demand for products and services, said a study of the US Chamber of Commerce.

So, the authorities have implemented some measures to support economic agents, including wineries. These measures include reducing the VAT rate from 20% to 15% for the hotels, restaurants and catering sector.

The co-founder of ATU winery, Vlada Vutcarau, claimed that the supporting state measures do not help them that much.

“We do not receive visitors. Therefore, we do not generate VAT. This reduction does not provide any benefit at the moment, because we do not record any income anyway. We do not have the revenue, from which to save those 5% and distribute them to salaries.”

She also believes that the measures announced by the authorities represent political games and the state avoids taking responsibility. “Maybe it can’t afford it.”

Trouble never comes alone, as the co-founder of the winery believes. This year’s drought worries her just as much. “Time will tell us what we will be able to harvest this autumn. There could be an even bigger crisis,” she said.

Source: Facebook| ATU Winery

Corn instead of grapes

On April 10, the Commission for Emergency Situations adopted Provision No. 16. One of the included regulations concerned the subsidy mechanism for economic agents: the enterprises that have totally or partially stopped their activity would be granted a subsidy in the amount of the paid income tax, along with other social contributions.

The director of the Milestii Mici winery, Viorel Garaz, wondered if the state has financial resources to subsidise entrepreneurs. “As long as the economic agents do not work at all or carry their activity to a very small extent, their contributions to the state budget are very small. If the subsidies are not paid immediately, the companies will shut down their activity and will no longer need them,” explained the specialist.

The Milestii Mici winery produced almost 1,2 million bottles of wine in 2019, out of which almost 60% were exported. Following the pandemic hit, the company recorded a 60% decrease in sales on the local market. Exports fell by 40% and, since March 8, the winery has not been visited by any tourists.

“Our plans for one year or two have been turned upside down: to extend the restaurant, to acquire electric vehicles, to plant vines, to open a network of stores. The saved money went to rent, salaries and utilities’ payment.”

COVID-19 diminished the budget for planting vines. Milestii Mici winery decided to sow 36 ha of corn instead of the Feteasca variety of grape.

Also, the winery had to terminate the contracts with several retired employees. The overall number of workers was reduced from 206 to 142. “We cannot pay the indemnity for technical unemployment to pensioners. They at least have a pension, but young people who stay at home with their children … We decided to pay them at least something,” said Viorel Garaz.

The underground galleries of Milestii Mici are located at a depth of 85 m and have a total length of 200 km. They store almost 2 million bottles, which is why it has reached the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest wine collection by number of bottles.

Challenges over time

The state of emergency in the Republic of Moldova is not the first hit to winemakers. In 2006, Russia banned the import of wines because it would not have complied with sanitary regulations. At that time, almost 80% of the total wine production was exported to Russia. Estimates showed that the embargo losses exceeded $ 100 million.

Next, in 2013, three months before signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, Russia put again an embargo on Moldovan wines.

Source: Facebook| Andrei Cibotaru

“It is a crisis that affects us all and we have to contribute by consuming more local wine. Behind a bottle of wine is an entire industry: there are vine growers, people who work in production, winemakers, people in the laboratory. Besides, there is the glass industry, the cardboard packaging industry, there are people who deal with label design and so on. Buying a bottle of wine, in fact, maintains an entire chain of several sectors,” commented the author of the finewine.md blog and wine expert, Andrei Cibotari.

This text is a translation. The original article here.

Photo: Wine of Moldova

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(Update) Coronavirus: the State of Emergency will be replaced by a Public Health Emergency after May 15

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The State of Emergency in the Republic of Moldova is lifted on May 15. Starting tomorrow, the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission will start its activity with declaring Code Red in the healthcare system or a so-called Public Health Emergency on the territory of the whole country. This was declared by President Igor Dodon after the meeting of the Supreme Security Council.

According to the president, all the responsibilities regarding COVID-19 restrictions necessary during the pandemic crisis will be handed over from the Commission for Emergency Situations to the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, which was newly created.

Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, Viorica Dumbraveanu, emphasised the need to maintain the same public health measures after May 15, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus infection and ensure the protection of citizens, as it is declared in a press release of the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Protection (MHLSP).

Prime Minister Ion Chicu announced that the state of Public Health Emergency could remain in force by June 30, as per the request of the National Public Health Agency. “It can be even shorter or longer. We will decide according to how the events evolve,” said the head of the executive. According to him, the new state of emergency concerns only decisions and actions taken in the healthcare industry.

According to the latest official decision of the National Extraordinary Public Health Commission, the Public Health Emergency is established for the period May 16 – June 30 and encloses restrictions concerning kindergartens that will open after June 30; the markets in Chisinau and Balti – after May 31; playgrounds and stadiums – after May 31; general, vocational and university education institutions – after June 30; forests, parks, alleys, beaches for groups of more than 3 persons – after June 30; shopping centres – after June 30 (except groceries and pharmaceuticals units located in the same building), barber shops and dental offices – after May 16, outpatient medical activities – May 16.

At the same time, it is mandatory to wear protective masks in indoor public places.

The restrictions regarding regular flights, regular passenger air charters, international rail routes, regular, special and occasional road transport of passengers are still maintained until June 30, with gradual relaunch depending on the epidemiological situation.

The access of foreign citizens and stateless persons is forbidden on the territory of Moldova until June 30, with the following exceptions:

  • family members of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova;
  • persons holding a long-stay visa, a residence permit or a document equivalent to a residence permit issued by the authorities;
  • persons being on business trips, proved by a visa, residence permit or other equivalent document;
  • members of diplomatic missions and consular posts accredited in Republic of Moldova, of international organisations / missions, as well as members of their families or personnel who provide humanitarian aid;
  • passengers in transit, including those who are repatriated.

Persons who enter the Republic of Moldova during this period will have to fill in an epidemiological form, as well as a declaration on their own responsibility to comply with the self-isolation regime of 14 days in determined places. More decisions and provisions can be found here.

According to the most updated data provided by the MHLSP, there are 5553 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Moldova at the moment, including 2228 cases of people who recovered and 194 cases of death. On March 14, there were 147 newly confirmed cases, while the record number of new cases (252) was recorded just 2 days ago, on May 13.

Photo: Romania Insider

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