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CONCLUSIONS MADE BY INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION ON CHISINAU AIRPORT ARE POPULIST – EX-MINISTER OF ECONOMY

16 september, 2019
CONCLUSIONS MADE BY INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION ON CHISINAU AIRPORT ARE POPULIST – EX-MINISTER OF ECONOMY

The conclusions, made by the ad-hoc parliamentary commission on investigating the privatization and concession of the Chisinau airport are nothing else but unjustified populism, while the very parliamentary rostrum is used exclusively for political goals, maintains ex-Minister of Economy Valeriu Lazar.

At the recent news conference at Infotag he said that he is outraged by statements of the leadership, who regarded the transmission of the airport into concession to Avia Invest as a betrayal of state security interests.

“Had I been invited to the sitting of this commission, I would have explained to its members that the Chisinau airport is equaled to the state border. Officers from three specialized structures are permanently present there – the Ministry of the Interior, the Customs Service and the Information and Security Service (ISS). It is absolutely illogical to accuse Avia Invest of creating gaps in national security system. If there were cases when people or goods went through the airport without customs control, the national security is really in danger, but it is not Avia Invest that is guilty, as it is just ensuring functioning of the ground infrastructure”, the ex-Minister said.

According to him, the statements of the authorities on the illegality of airport concession procedure call into question the legal expertise of most of state bodies, which gave their conclusions.

“The Government adopted four decrees in this regard. All of them were developed with the attraction of layers of the Public Property Agency (PPA), received conclusions from the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, as well as all other interested ministries and state agencies. After that, the decrees were challenged in the Constitutional Court, parliamentary hearings were conducted on them. Nobody ever doubted their legality. Any objective investigation will demonstrate there is no reason for revising the results of the contest [to choose concessionaire] from the point of view of legality”, Lazar said.

He reminded that the master-plan for airport development, elaborated in 2010 by a German company, contains the forecast and time frames of achieving critical level of passenger flow, before which it is necessary to ensure certain infrastructure to avoid transport collapse.

“The analysis demonstrated that by 2015-2016 we will achieve a critical moment, when the annual passenger flow will grow to 1.5 million. By 2018, the passenger flow should have grown 50%, but in reality, it grew even faster. This was due to unforeseen reasons, one of which is military conflict in the east of Ukraine. Many passengers renounced flying via Odessa or in transit via Kiev”, the ex-minister said.

According to him, the 9-euro fee, levied from passengers according to the concession contract, is necessary to ensure timely investments in airport infrastructure for overcoming critical moments, created by passenger flow.

“Even second-year students of the Academy of Economic Studies know that there is no enterprise that would provide a good or a service without including the investment component into the tariff. This fee exists for already long time, as it is one of conditions, established by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). I only admit that MPs from the commission are right when they say that the sum, raised from passengers, exceeds the necessary one”, the ex official said.

He said that the Avia Invest invested 87 million euros in the airport by the end of 2018. However, according to his calculations, the sum raised from passengers, accounted for 51 million euros, which is much less, because this payment is not requested from the arriving passengers, children under two years and passengers of new flights during the first 12 months. Moreover, he stated that without airport concession, the raised sum would be of just 10% from the sum of necessary investments for overcoming critical point.

According to him, a clause in the contract which says that all the arguments about the concession must be resolved in Moldovan courts, does not guarantee to the state the protection from negative consequences of contract termination, as a fair trial will be based on conclusions of independent experts, but not of the parliamentary commission.

 

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