09 april, 2015

At its working meeting that ended on Wednesday evening, the Moldovan Government decided to approve the package of the so-called ‘budget laws’ for 2015 without discussing them in parliament – just by declaring that the Cabinet is assuming responsibility before the Parliament for the essential documents. Moldova’s history has not known such an unprecedented step.

Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici offered his argumentation in support of the step: a complicated economic situation and the need to adopt the laws without any further delay.

The Government has thus shouldered responsibility for the whole 2015 package consisting of 4 documents of extreme importance – the Fiscal Policy and the Laws on the 2015 State Budget, on the State Social Insurance Budget, and on the Compulsory Health Insurance Budget.

“We understand that the Fiscal Policy and the State Budget must be first debated in parliament. And we would really act so, had we been in November or December. But Moldova was in an election campaign then. Due to the parliamentary elections and subsequent government formation that took too long, we failed to adopt a State Budget in due time. Presently, the Government has no other way out except taking extraordinary measures – to assume before the Parliament responsibility for this package of laws because their discussion in Parliament may take weeks and even months”, stated the prime minister.

Gaburici further held, “We have no time. We are working in conditions of a minority government. This means that we have no guarantee that the laws will be approved rapidly. We had to make this step, the more so that it is permitted by legislation”.

Minister of Education Maia Sandu suggested sending the bills to parliament first because such is a common rule, but Premier Gaburici repeated that “it is not last November now, when the Government would indeed follow Minister Sandu’s proposal. But now it is too late”.

“We are talking of pensions, salaries, negotiations with international partners, aren’t we? In April, we are supposed to see Budget revenues coming – long coming already. We decided to raise pensions in the country since last April 1 and we are already repaying them, but we have no approved budget for this. So, the only possible way is to assume responsibility before the Parliament”, stated the prime minister.

When the 2015 Fiscal Policy was discussed, representatives of the employers’ associations [aka the Patronat locally] and trade unions subjected the Government’s actions to strong criticism, stating that if the Cabinet really accepts responsibility completely on itself, “the Government’s door will be shut in the face of the society, which will mean that the Government is refusing to hold dialog”.

“We still hope for a public discussion of the Fiscal Policy. But what the Government is proposing is depriving us of a platform for discussions. We have worked out 6 principal proposals for the draft, but nobody is taking them into consideration. We were told to wait until our proposals are considered at debating the bill in parliament, but now the door is closed to us”, the Chairman of the National Confederation of the Patronats, Leonid Cerescu, stated indignantly.

His colleague, National Trade Union Confederation Chairman Oleg Budza stated that in such situation, the trade unions are refusing to support the draft Fiscal Policy. He also voiced strong surprise that the State Budget was passed in secrecy, without discussions with social partners.

According to the draft, 2015 State Budget revenues will be slightly over 30.3 billion lei, and expenditures – 34.3 billion lei. Revenues to the State Social Insurance Budget will be some 13.5 billion lei and expenditures – 13.6 billion lei. And revenues to the Compulsory Health Insurance Budget will exceed 5.16 billion lei and expenditures – 5.26 billion lei.

According to legal rules, prime minister must now send to parliament the Cabinet’s decision to assume responsibility for the package of budget laws. If deputies [minimum 26 MPs – a quarter of the forum] do not demand a vote of no confidence in government next 72 hours, the laws shall come into force.

The leader of the opposition Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, has already stated to journalists that his parliamentary faction [the largest in the 101-member Parliament, but having only 25 MPs, not 26 as necessary for the vote] will stand up with the initiative to dismiss the Government after Premier Gaburici submits the Government’s decision on responsibility.

As Infotag has learnt, Chiril Gaburici is gong to submit the decision to parliament on Thursday afternoon.

This assuming of responsibility by government is the 5th in Moldova’s history. The Cabinet of Premier Filat did so twice – in 2010 and 2011, and the Leanca Government – also twice in 2014. But there was no instance when a State Budget and related laws were adopted in such a way.

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