This article is available only in Romanian.
In the context of the ideas circulated by certain politicians regarding the contracting by the Government of a loan of up to 20 billion MDL from the National Bank of Moldova (NBM), we declare the following:
• Central bank direct crediting of the Government in Moldova is illegal. Article 41 of the Law on the NBM expressly specifies the prohibition of lending to the state: “The National Bank shall not grant loans and guarantees in any form to the state or its bodies, including by purchasing state securities on the primary market or by granting overnight loans”.
• A potential loan from the NBM to the Government, especially in such a large amount (about 10% of GDP) will create inflationary pressures, depreciate the national currency, undermine economic growth, and result in fewer jobs and lower living standards of the population. The reason is that such a loan will force the central bank to print money, which will increase the volume of national currency without any coverage in the economy, while putting pressure on the national currency. To stabilise the situation, the NBM will have to sterilise this excess liquidity by tightening monetary policy and selling foreign currency from its reserves. This could worsen the current economic crisis in the Republic of Moldova, which will result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the bankruptcy of thousands of enterprises.
• The image of the Republic of Moldova with its potential creditors and investors, both in the country and abroad, will be worsened, which will make it even more difficult to attract financing on favourable terms, as well as attract foreign and local investments. Direct lending to the Government by the central bank has no positive precedents worldwide. Neither Romania, nor other countries in the region used such measures, which are viewed with the utmost scepticism by investors, creditors and the entire international community (not to be confused with "quantitative easing" implemented by the Federal Reserve in the US and by ECB in the euro area, which differ significantly from monetary lending or direct lending to the Government by the central bank discussed in Moldova; also, these examples are not comparable to Moldova given the difference in economic competitiveness and resiliency). Therefore, a potential direct loan from the NBM to the Government will increase the country's risks and worsen the perception of the Republic of Moldova by investors, creditors and development partners. In particular, it will deprive the Republic of Moldova of other forms of financing, both with immediate and long-term effects, namely:
o will undermine the prospects for a memorandum with the International Monetary Fund, which will affect other preferential financing from the European Union and other strategic partners of the country;
o will lead to higher interest rates on loans contracted internally and externally and, respectively, to higher budget costs for contracting such financing;
o will compromise the idea of issuing Eurobonds on foreign capital markets;
o will undermine investment attractiveness, especially for strategic investments, due to higher inflationary, foreign exchange and macroeconomic risks, which are taken into account most seriously by large investors;
o will destabilise the balance in the financial system by increasing interest rates and inevitably increasing the cost of loans granted to the population and companies;
o will question the refinancing of external debt if this mechanism is contrary to the rules promoted by the IMF;
o will create a dangerous precedent for future political pressures on the central bank.
• The initiative will generate losses in the state budget. As mentioned above, against the background of the country’s higher risks and a more restrictive monetary policy to reduce the volume of uncovered money in the economy, the costs of loans contracted by the Government will increase. This will immediately lead to higher interest rates on government securities that the Ministry of Finance uses on a permanent basis to refinance previously contracted loans, as well as to finance the budget deficit. Respectively, the cost of servicing the state debt will increase, which means that hundreds of millions of MDL, instead of being directed for investments or social payments, will be spent on paying higher interest on the state debt. In addition, if the NBM’s loan to the Government is contracted at a below-market interest rate, it will affect the capitalisation of the central bank, which will require transfers from the state budget to recapitalise it.
• The NBM’s ability to maintain the country's macro-financial stability will be affected. A potential loan by the NBM to the Government will lead to a reduction in the volume of foreign exchange reserves. Therefore, the NBM will have fewer opportunities to cushion any negative shocks to the economy. For example, it will not be able to prevent a potential sudden depreciation of the national currency through the sale of foreign currency from its foreign exchange reserves in the event of a lower supply of foreign currency (e.g. reduction of exports or external financing) or a higher demand for foreign currency (e.g. speculative attacks or population’s fears about the stability of the national currency).
• Last but not least, the independence of the central bank will be undermined, which will exacerbate all the negative consequences mentioned above. In its recently published position note, the NBM stated that it does not support the idea of direct lending to the state, due to its illegality and associated macroeconomic risks. Therefore, a potential coercion of the central bank to lend to the Government, including under the pretext of a state of emergency, would be a direct interference in the activity of the monetary authority, and a blatant violation of the principle of independence of the central bank under political pressure. This will further undermine confidence in the national currency and aggravate the country’s risk, while exacerbating all the negative effects mentioned above.
In view of the above, we urge the politicians to resort to legal and feasible sources to finance the support programmes for the population and companies, which are so necessary and expected, especially in the context of new restrictions and the state of emergency. In this regard, we reiterate the Expert-Grup’s recommendations made at the beginning of the pandemic crisis and that are still valid today, based on which a similar amount of money (about 20 billion MDL) can be mobilised without running into macroeconomic risks:
• Relax the monetary policy by reducing the mandatory level of reserves from the current 30% (for national currency and foreign currency), which we consider very high and restrictive given the current crisis and financing needs, down to 15%. This would allow to mobilise about 10-11 billion MDL to the accounts of commercial banks, which could be invested in state securities. Given the fact that the current inflation level is well below the target of the central bank, monetary policy easing does not pose major risks.
• Increase the issue of government securities. Given the excess liquidity of about 10 billion MDL in the banking system, which could be doubled by decreasing the level of required reserves (see above), it is appropriate to increase the issue of government securities in order to redirect this excess liquidity to an extensive programme for the support of companies and the population worth up to 20 billion MDL.
• As the liquidity in the banking system is eventually consumed, the NBM could purchase government securities on the secondary market (to make more active use of REPO-type operations), in order to support the Government in financing the anti-crisis programme.
• In order to support the channelling of liquidity from the banking system to the real sector of the economy, it is necessary to issue state guarantees for loans financing the cash flow granted to companies whose activity has been stopped by the restrictive measures established during the state of emergency.
• Improving relations with the development partners will allow to access about USD 530 million agreed under the programme with the IMF, EUR 50 million as part of the macro-financial assistance from the EU and other external resources that can be obtained in exchange for reforms to be undertaken by the Republic of Moldova under international agreements. This would allow the mobilisation of over 10 billion MDL under preferential conditions.
• The need for resources should be dictated directly by the developed programmes and projects, well anchored in the objective realities and consulted with the general public, business community and civil society. The need for funding should not arise as a result of populistic statements of politicians.
COVID-19 left a rather deep footprint on the Moldovan economy, although the 7% GDP reduction suffered in 2020 was partly due to the impact of the drought. The vulnerability of the Moldovan economy to such complex and intertwined crises is one of the most important lessons to be drawn from the economic year 2020.
To some extent, this double source of fiscal vulnerability may explain the modest response from the part of government to COVID-19. However, the lack of vision of the Moldovan policymakers left the society and economy bearing the full brunt of the crisis, with potentially damaging political consequences for the future.
The crisis revealed how timely the purge of the banking sector has been and how important it is to consolidate its progress. In the short-term, Moldovan companies will continue responding to the crisis by adopting new technologies and new modes of using labor, whereas consumers are likely to become a bit more frugal, at least for some time. In the longer-run, structural responses are necessary to enhance the resilience of the economy, including a policy for rebuilding domestic industrial capabilities, the creation of more solid budgetary reserves and development of capacities for evidence-based policy, from design to impact evaluation.
This article is published in the framework of the 3DCFTAs Project.
Una dintre cele mai mari provocări ale Republicii Moldova în vederea asigurării unui mediu sănătos și sigur pentru cetățenii săi este gestionarea deșeurilor, care în prezent este realizată într-o formă inadecvată. Modelul actual de gestionare a deșeurilor este unul simplu și primitiv și nu corespunde nici rigorilor de protecție a mediului, și nici principiilor economiei circulare. Servicii de colectare a deșeurilor există preponderent în localitățile urbane, dar și aici ponderea deșeurilor colectate separat, sortate și transmise spre reciclare este una infimă, deși rapoartele statistice spun altceva. Cea mai mare cantitate de deșeuri este stocată la depozite din apropierea localităților. Deși o parte dintre aceste depozite sunt autorizate, acestea nu respectă nici o măsură de prevenire a poluării, infectând apele, solurile, aerul și contribuind la procesul de schimbare a climei prin emisiile de metan.
Țările dezvoltate, care conștientizează importanța gestionării deșeurilor atât din punct de vedere al prevenirii poluării mediului, cât și al utilizării durabile a resurselor naturale, elaborează și implementează instrumente economice de responsabilizare a producătorilor pentru a asigura utilizarea cât mai rațională a resurselor naturale atât la etapa de producere a mărfurilor, precum și la etapa de finalizare a ciclului de viață a acestora, având scopul de a le transforma în materie primă secundară. Unul dintre aceste instrumente este Responsabilitatea Extinsă a Producătorului (REP)*, care este prevăzut și de legislația Republicii Moldova, dar în prezent nu poate fi aplicat din lipsa mecanismelor financiare, care ar facilita implementarea practică a acestuia.
În acest context, Centrul Analitic Independent „Expert-Grup” și Centrul Național de Mediu, cu susținerea Suediei, au elaborat studiul: „Implementarea mecanismelor de Responsabilitate Extinsă a Producătorilor pentru asigurarea reciclării deșeurilor”, care-și propune să analizeze interacțiunea actorilor cheie ai lanțului: producători/comercianți – consumatori – reciclatori – stat, practicile de stimulare în acest domeniu și să propună mecanisme de stimulare a participanților la acest proces de returnare și valorificare a deșeurilor rezultate în urma consumului de mărfuri.
Adam Amberg, consilier, Șef al Direcției Cooperare pentru Dezvoltare, Ambasada Suediei în Republica Moldova: „Mecanismul de Responsabilizare Extinsă a Producătorului (REP) reprezintă o abordare sistematică a managementului deșeurilor și necesită o conlucrare apropiată dintre toți actorii implicați privind dezvoltarea unui mecanism constructiv pentru reciclarea materialelor, diminuarea poluării și eliminarea pierderilor resurselor naturale. Un aspect important este cooperarea activă și continuă între public, autorități și producători, iar rezultatul final așteptat este gestionarea durabilă a resurselor și un mediu mai curat. Sper că acest studiu va ajuta la îmbunătățirea dialogului între autorități, public și producători privind implementarea mecanismului REP”.
Ina Coșeru, Președinta Centrului Național de Mediu, coautoare a studiului: „Responsabilitatea Extinsă a Producătorului este prevăzută în Legea deșeurilor din 2016 (art. 12) și vine să stimuleze o gestionare mai bună a deșeurilor care se referă la echipamente electrice și electronice, ambalaje, baterii și acumulatori, vehicule și uleiuri uzate. Prin acest studiu vrem să venim cu recomandări privind elaborarea legislației secundare aferentă acestui articol și să propunem instrumente de sprijin pentru producătorii care plasează aceste tipuri de deșeuri”.
Adrian Lupușor, Director executiv al Centrului Analitic Independent „Expert-Grup”: „Implementarea acestui mecanism nu trebuie să fie perceput ca un cost suplimentar pentru agenții economici, căci, dacă privim pe termen lung, aceasta este de fapt o investiție pentru ca toți să beneficiem de apă sau aer curat. Mai mult, subiectul este inclus în agenda „Moldova 2030”, iar de politicile publice care vor fi elaborate și aplicate în această direcție depinde nemijlocit calitatea vieții locuitorilor Republicii Moldova”.
Studiul se axează pe trei fluxuri de deșeuri: baterii și acumulatori, echipamente electrice și electronice și uleiuri. Autorii publicației au analizat experiența țărilor din Uniunea Europeană în această privință, unde mecanismele REP au început să fie implementate încă din anii 1980.
„REP este considerat un instrument major în sprijinul implementării ierarhiei europene a deșeurilor, prin promovarea principiilor cheie: prevenire, reutilizare și reciclare, iar împreună cu alte instrumente economice cheie, REP poate încuraja schimbarea comportamentului tuturor actorilor implicați în lanțul valoric al produselor: producători, comercianți, consumatori, autorități locale, operatori publici și privați de gestionare a deșeurilor, reciclatori etc.”, spune Vadim Gumene, Director de Program, „Expert-Grup”, coautor al studiului.
Instrumentul Responsabilitatea Extinsă a Producătorului are cinci obiective de bază: (1) diminuarea cantității de deșeuri eliminate prin depozitare, (2) reducerea costurilor de gestionare a deșeurilor pentru municipalități și contribuabili, (3) crearea de fluxuri alternative de deșeuri pentru materiale periculoase, (4) stimularea producătorilor să își reproiecteze produsele, (5) crearea unui model de economie circulară.
Un element important al implementării REP este introducerea de către stat a unei taxe de mediu. „Taxa de mediu trebuie să combine în sine trei puncte de interes pentru trei actori din acest lanț: producătorul, care va fi interesat să optimizeze ambalajul și componentele produsului nedorite în mediul ambiat și să eficientizeze procesul de colectare a acestor deșeuri, colectorii de deșeuri, care vor trebui să-și acopere costul serviciilor și, de asemenea, este preferabil să existe un bonus de retur al deșeurilor pentru motivarea consumatorilor să returneze bunurile uzate sau a ambalajului rămas în urma consumului produsului”, a declarat Sergiu Gaibu, Director de Program, „Expert-Grup”, coautor al studiului.
Într-un sistem de Responsabilitate Extinsă a Producătorului rolul principal al guvernului constă în a stabili cadrul legislativ pentru funcționarea sistemului REP precum și monitorizarea procesului de implementare pentru atingerea obiectivului final.
„Filosofia care stă la baza reciclării produselor este de a prelungi durata de viață a resurselor naturale, în mod special, a celor neregenerabile, cum ar fi: gaz, țiței, fier, cupru etc., extrase pentru producerea de mărfuri, și a le reintroduce în circuitul economic. Această necesitate vine în contextul unei creșteri constante a numărului populației pe planetă, care influențează sporirea cererii de produse versus epuizarea resurselor naturale. Astfel, Responsabilitatea Extinsă a Producătorului are menirea de a fi un instrument adițional în gestionarea deșeurilor, pentru a crește ponderea materialelor reintroduse în circuitul economic sub formă de materii prime secundare. În acest sens, guvernul este cel care trebuie să stabilească regulile de joc, mecanismele financiare, compensatorii precum și cele contravenționale, pentru a asigura implementarea și buna funcționare a acestui mecanism”, susține Iuliana Cantaragiu, Directoare adjunctă a Centrului Național de Mediu, coautoare a studiului.
Autorii studiului recomandă guvernului constituirea de grupuri de lucru / platforme de dialog dedicate pe fiecare categorie de deșeuri, care să includă reprezentanți ai tuturor participanților la procesul respectiv, inclusiv reprezentanți ai societății civile, pentru accelerarea implementării mecanismelor de Responsabilitate Extinsă a Producătorilor în Republica Moldova.
Cantitatea de deșeuri colectate în Republica Moldova de la agenți economici și populație în anul 2019 a fost de 3,2 milioane m3, mai mult de jumătate dintre aceste deșeuri au fost colectate în municipiul Chișinău. Din anul 2014 până în anul 2019 cantitatea de deșeuri colectată de la populație a crescut cu 13,7%. Ponderea deșeurilor reciclate în municipiul Chișinău din totalul deșeurilor municipale sortate în anul 2018 a fost de 11%.
*Responsabilitatea Extinsă a Producătorului este un instrument economic care vine să responsabilizeze agenții economici atât la etapa de producere, în vederea utilizării cât mai raționale a resurselor naturale prin reducerea componentelor/structurii produsului fabricat și/sau ambalajelor inutile, cât și la etapa plasării pe piață a mărfurilor, prin asumarea răspunderii de a prelua de pe piață deșeurile reciclabile generate în urma consumului acestor mărfuri.
Finanțat de Suedia
This article is available only in Romanian. The English version will be posted soon.
The values of respect for human dignity, freedom and equality are indispensable elements of the rule of law. Equal rights are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and the international legal instruments to which the Republic of Moldova is a party. The Republic of Moldova has made efforts to align the legal framework in the field of equality, which led to it being ranked 23rd out of 153 states according to the 2020 Gender Inequality Index developed by the World Economic Forum. Women, however, continue to face a number of challenges related to gender inequalities in the distribution of paid and unpaid work, women's primary responsibilities for unpaid domestic work, and inequalities in access to economic opportunities, which stem from historically unequal relationships between women and men.
The economic situation of the Republic of Moldova, the difficult business environment, low employment opportunities, the educational system not adapted to the socio-economic realities create major difficulties for the entire population of the country, with women being especially affected. The Republic of Moldova has the lowest employment rate in Europe, being a country with the lowest per capita income. The economic situation is precarious, especially in rural areas. These factors put the population in difficulty. The young women and girls, and especially the vulnerable groups of women and girls, in addition to the challenges specified above, face discriminatory attitudes driven by beliefs about the role of women in the family and society, limited opportunities to make choices about their life and professional development and to participate on equal terms with men in the labour market. Thus, in order to improve the situation, the fundamental problems of the society that generate the socio-economic vulnerabilities for women must be addressed, both at the level of the society in general as well as at the individual level.
The study on the evaluation of women's economic empowerment programmes focuses on the analysis of recent programmes funded from external sources, which aim to stimulate the economic empowerment of women, including the vulnerable groups of women. At the same time, providing recommendations on making women's economic empowerment programmes and the corresponding national policies more effective, in order to make them better targeted to the most vulnerable groups and to ensure their stronger impact, is a key aspect of the evaluation. The evaluation involved experts from the Independent Analytical Centre ‘Expert-Grup’, responsible for analysing the economic aspects of women's economic empowerment programmes, and specialists from the ‘Women's Law Centre’ NGO who analysed the programmes for the economic empowerment of women from vulnerable groups.
Economic empowerment programmes are of major importance in compensating for the deficiencies of the socio-economic system helping women to achieve the pursued economic objectives. The most successful programmes are those that provide practical training for women entrepreneurs, both in starting up a business, as well as developing it, in combination with financial support to boost the implementation of the human potential of the beneficiaries of these programmes. The women from vulnerable groups need specialised assistance to develop their personal skills, and then be referred to and integrated into entrepreneurship training and financial assistance programmes.
The Covid-19 crisis has affected both women and the operating environment of women's economic empowerment programmes. Thus, the crisis has diminished the opportunities for economic achievement for the entire population, including women. The population employment rate decreased by 8.8% at the end of the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of 2019. Women’s employment rate decreased by 10%. The women from vulnerable groups are at increased risk in such situations and need specialised assistance. Due to the restrictions determined by the state of emergency, coordinators of economic empowerment programmes had to change their approach, moving some of the activities online. Enrolment of women in vocational schools has also become more difficult, with bleaker employment prospects after graduation. In addition, women from vulnerable groups often do not have online communication equipment, and in some cases are unable to benefit from training and assistance. In times of crisis, women's assistance programmes will have to keep abreast with the new challenges posed by it (reduced economic opportunities, restricted movement, avoidance of group activities, the need to implement digital communication solutions, etc.).
Solving the problems women face when trying to access the labour market is not simple and requires a comprehensive approach. The first necessary step is to assess the main causes of the difficulties women face. And solutions must be aimed at eliminating or mitigating the impact of these causes. It is certain that opportunities for professional and entrepreneurial development are reduced in Moldova, and economic and financial education in the school education system is completely lacking. The lack of effective policies to reconcile family and professional life is a factor that affects women's economic activity. These problems can be addressed through an efficient cooperation among state authorities, international bodies, the donor community and civil society organisations, whereas others – through nationwide gender equality promotion and awareness campaigns, the revision of school curricula and increasing girls' interest and involvement in STEM.
The main purpose of economic empowerment programmes is to provide the set of skills and tools needed by women to fit into professional or entrepreneurial economic life. The most successful programmes for women offer a combination of educational and financial support, providing one-stop-shop support services. If a woman wants to develop in new areas, start a business, make a career transition, it is important to provide her with practical information in that newly selected area, mentoring and assistance as to the concrete steps in achieving these goals, assistance in dealing with external institutions: banks, tax agency, employers, educational institutions for taking additional courses, etc. In order to address some of women’s economic challenges, the optimal solution would be to offer in schools professional guidance on the most requested and prospective professions, courses on entrepreneurship and organisation of economic activities, so that young women can make more informed choices that are less influenced by the society's stereotypes.
The key recommendations for supporting women in entrepreneurship developed with the contribution of the European Business Association (EBA) are based on 4 basic pillars: business mentoring; industry leaders sharing their success stories; assistance in the implementation of programmes; financial support. Educational programs that are accompanied by mentoring have a much greater positive impact on the guided business. Practical solutions to specific business problems of the beneficiaries have, most of the times, an increased value and amplify the value of the generic courses. Inspiring women through visits to market leaders and understanding of practical solutions already in place in Moldova's economic environment ensure both practical knowledge, as well as confidence in the success of the solutions applied. Training and assistance to apply for national and international programs is one of the ‘fishing rods’ for the woman-entrepreneur to be able to successfully access assistance programmes for the selected economic field. For beginner women-entrepreneurs, financial support combined with educational assistance according to the one-stop-shop principle is critical to ensure confidence at the initial stage of the business.
Currently in the Republic of Moldova there are some programmes to support women that target vulnerable categories, but they are few and have no continuity. The primary objective of the programmes targeting women from vulnerable categories is their economic empowerment together with instilling self-confidence and helping deal with psychological problems. At the same time, the programmes dedicated to vulnerable women have a greater impact if they provide vocational or entrepreneurship courses together with the necessary financial assistance as a one-stop-shop or in partnership with other specialised institutions or programmes.
The key recommendations for the economic empowerment of women that target vulnerable categories are the development of programs focused on their specific needs, with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach that can be achieved in partnership with various educational institutions, CSOs specializing in working with vulnerable groups, National Employment Agency and territorial structures, but also economic agents. Programs dedicated to vulnerable women will have a greater impact if they ensure access to the program as close as possible to their living environment and promote success stories.
An important recommendation is for the development agencies to assess the possibility of providing assistance for improving the infrastructure, which would directly contribute to creating enabling conditions for women to engage in economic activities. At the Women's Empowerment Forum OECD identified 4 key areas of intervention for women's economic empowerment, namely: public services, infrastructure, social protection, redistribution of household responsibilities. At the forum, it was identified that these factors affect differently the economic empowerment of women. Social protection, very important for reducing poverty and improving the quality of life, has a rather low impact on economic empowerment, whereas an infrastructure in place is an important precondition for the economic empowerment of women – a necessity neglected both at national and international level, despite the fact that it plays a key role in reducing the time needed to complete domestic chores and increasing opportunities for engaging in economic activity. The interviews confirmed the existence of barriers to assistance due to the lack of a basic infrastructure.
Funded by Sweden