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It will affect each and every one and you won’t find it funny.

It will affect each and every one and you won’t find it funny.

Comments of InfoMarket agency

There are signs of "a police state" in Moldova. The country has legislative and executive domination which is faint separated, and repression which is "police state" characteristic. Those tactics implemented into social life carefully and methodically.

Restrictions in practically all sectors of the economy do not surprise anybody, punitive measures given the status of law and the use of punitive measures is selective. There are some double standards in every aspect of social life, state officials could have luxurious cars and have them declared for as little as 11 thousand lei (which is about 500 euro), an ordinary way warden could be arrested for couple of hundreds euro just for demonstrational purposes. It is necessary to penalize for corruption, but why is it done so preferential? Everyone can suffer double standards nowadays, and become a victim of injustice in relation to himself personally or his business.

There are few people who engross in thought of the meaning "unit of exchange" in the law. Government law penalties are charged in unit of exchange actually and it is not only for traffic regulation law, that one is pretty obvious. Those fines are applied towards economic agents during tax inspection control. National Bank, National Financial Markets Committee all those authorities applying fines in units of exchange. Officers of the court also have schedule of fees in units of exchange. Even notorious anti-smoking law package, all penalties prescribed in US dollars: smoked a cigarette in the wrong place - pay a fine of 50-70 USD. The calculation of penalties in MDL is 1000-1400 lei so far, but in the nearest future (when the new changes will be published in "Monitorul Oficial" and will come into legal strength), the penalty for smoked cigarette in the wrong place will raise to 2500-3500 lei.

There is a very high density of surveillance cameras for traffic violators in Chisinau, and few drivers didn’t receive a "letter of happiness". Failure to comply with road traffic requirements, which are set most cameras,  is 20-25 USD fine which is equal to 400-500 lei. The new amount of the fine for this violation will be 1000-1250 lei.

So what has happened? Toward the close of the spring- summer session of the parliament on Friday evening, among other things, accepted final amendments to the legislation, which increased the amount of penalties by 2.5 times - from 20 lei to 50 lei.

The parliament "logical" changes are simple: 20 MDL was set at 2002; Since then much has changed, and the amount of fines "depreciated" and it should be 1 % of average monthly salary in the country (it could be more or less 1 % of the "average temperature in the hospital" as well. Why not?). Today, the average salary is just over 5.000 lei, it means unit of exchange must be assessed in 50 lei now.   

Following the "logic" of the so-called offset fines, we began to live in two and a half times better in comparison with 2002! This is considering global crisis in 2008-2009 and local banking and financial bankruptcy in 2014. Moreover, 20 lei in 2002 was equal to $1.5; Today $1.5 is equal to 30 lei.

Penalties are well-known to be the tools for improving discipline, and Western Europe learned it long time ago, but not only learned, it also granted its citizens a real opportunity to live by the rules without penalties. The most important aspect is mentality of Europeans, which is very different from our post-Soviet way of thinking.

There are a lot of penalties and punitive measures from authorities here in Moldova but those authorities are reluctant to create friendly environment for their citizens and businessmen to avoid even a desire to trespass against the law.  Let’s keep in mind and mention the anti-smoking law. US authorities built reservations for the Indians but Moldovan smokers were simply "thrown into the street" by anti-smoking law. Moldovan law does not allow discrimination of sexual minorities, to make a parade in center of Chisinau, and hundreds of thousands smokers are not allowed to equip the places where they can feel in their own environment, even at their own expense.  Is this a discrimination?! It is known that smoking is a bad habit. Yes, it is. But people must have the right to make their own choice and this choice should be respected in non-dictatorial country.

Anti-smoking law is just an example of how authorities can discriminate against a person, group of persons or the whole community. Private sector is also a community that doesn’t feed on the state, but creates job opportunities and pays taxes. Do you know that any private sector enterprise can be fined only for the fact that there wasn’t posted "non-smoking" label at the wall?! The penalty for the lack of stickers set to 250-300 USD for officials and 350-400 USD for entrepreneurs, including deprivation of the right to a year of activity! The new prices will pay an official 12500-15000 lei; legal - 17500-20000 lei. Do you want a facility to be closed? - Just scratch "non-smoking" label and call the police. Nothing can be done - this is our mentality. Add to this "legalized" double standards and you’ll get another sign of a "police state".

Of course, it is necessary to follow certain procedures but the way it is implemented in Moldova is shocking. It was few years ago, the current Prime Minister Pavel Filip was the Minister of Information Development at that time, and he decided to change extremely the rules of the driving exams graduation. The purpose of the exercise was make students learn and get drivers' license being trained drivers. But the way exams turned today, outraged even instructors. It looks like a business very much, built state structure on its monopoly services. This topic requires a separate investigation, but those who are faced new system of examination on driving licenses would agree with me.

Same issue with penalties. The main task - to make citizens and entrepreneurs avoid breaking the law, so that living according to the law would be beneficial, as it is in Europe, but in our case, when some violations are enforced (simply because of unresolved or controversial situations), the presence of huge fines makes the growth of corruption because the temptation to take a bribe simply enormous! Who needs the application of business audit checks for three months (and then for another three), if you can simply close the business ... implementing "simple double standards".

Many entrepreneurs in Moldova feeling the crisis in recent years. Whereas there are a lot of talking about the suspension of development and investment in the business environment, more and more talks raising about the folding and moving to other countries, including in neighboring Romania. The number of examples grow each month more and more. And if business is bad - it is bad for all, no revenues to the budget, growing amount of unemployed people. Authorities found another source of "income" increasing the size of fines in 2.5 times, by means of its citizens. If there is a lack of budget money - they can always run the inspectors "hunting in the field" collecting fines to replenish the budget. Private sector facing this budget "replenishing" system not the first time in Moldova. It may happen one day, there would not be someone remaining to pay taxes with this approach "to fill the budget". // 03.08.2016  


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