Note #4 – April 2004 CISR/ADEPT, see: www.e-democracy.md
1000 and 100 days of
the Government of V. Tarlev
On April 19, 2001 Parliament has quickly – in a half an hour – approved the Programme of activity of the next, the 9th beginning from 1990, Government of the Republic of Moldova. Contrary to expectations of skeptics (despite multiple changes to the team made during the “game”) it is this government that turned out to be a long-liver.
This is mainly due to unfailing mechanisms of the vertical line of power – President, Parliament and Government as an executive body. Private sector (circa 80% of GDP) – entrepreneurs that seem to have adapted to market conditions over the decade of reforms – also backed up the stability. Plus, the yearly country’s financial support of 300-500 mil USD from Moldovan citizens working abroad.
How can one assess quality of the Government’s activity? My opinion is that it can be done first of all based on three most important criteria:
As regards the first two criteria, according to sociological polls, 2/3 of the population evaluate the situation in the country as satisfactory that, understandably, political scientists and sociologists, let alone opposition parties, do not mainly confirm.
But the main slogan of the Government’s activity programme was “revival of the economy – revival of the country”. And this was supposed to be achieved through “strengthening the role of the state in providing for sustainability of socio-economic development”. What resulted from the above-mentioned can be seen from the table comprising the key macroeconomic indicators.
Moldova: main macroeconomic indicators
Inconsistency between indicators is evident. On the one hand, there certainly was a GDP growth (21.6% over three years) that began to show as far back as the pre-crisis 1997 (+1.6%) and recommenced in 2000 (+2.1%). The National Bank controlled the Moldovan lei’s exchange rate, while the Ministry of Finance controlled the balance of incomes and expenditures. Average wages and pensions increased (in 2003, for instance, for 31% and 28% correspondingly). 53.7% of all expenditures of the consolidated budget fell on social sphere.
On the other – acute lack of investments (a start for the future!), huge trade balance deficit, slow export growth, burden of external and internal debt. And… danger of an inflation outburst.
The list of what had to be changed or improved is well-known both to the population, Government and its advisers from IMF and WB. It includes: quality of economic growth (now, only 1/3 of the GDP growth is being formed in real sector); nature of relations between the state and entrepreneurship, situation of the competition and business climate; division of power between central and local authorities; creation of new workplaces as a counteraction to the mass migration; restoration of free movement of persons and goods with Transnistria; fight against corruption and criminality; targeting of social aid to the poor.
In order to solve all these difficult tasks the Government will have to rise to another, higher level of initiative and creative work. After all the most part of positive results achieved over these three years was due, as the President V. Voronin stated, “to the administrative resource”. But this resource, state intervention into the economy has its limits. The more so since we are trying to revive the country with the help of the state apparatus that has not been reformed yet.
It is not excluded that the Government will estimate in May its activity during 2001-2003, including advantages and defects, and will rebut the opinion of the last IMF mission that reforms in Moldova have slowed down and, in some spheres, have even reversed.
In the meantime, Government in a regular manner set through its decision #351 of April 2, 2004 “the top-priority tasks of activity of the executive power for 2004” and an action plan of 177 (!) clauses to boot. These actions include suggestions of ministries and departments, while priorities seem to have been formulated “at the top”.
Attention now! “The following is to be considered as the top-priority tasks of activity of the executive power for 2004:
Development of human resources through constant formation of a modern system of education, healthcare, social guarantees, innovations and research and development;
European integration and economic modernization of the country;
Liberalization of economic activity, stimulation of investments, provision of transparency and stability of the legislation;
Territorial reintegration of the country” (Monitorul Oficial al Republicii Moldova, #56-60, April 9, 2004, p. 62).
And all these lofty and general formulations are priorities for the final dash of the current Government, aren’t they? What have the previous three years been spent for then? After all, it has been April 19, 2001, when each of these general tasks was set before the Government. And where is the “fighting poverty” idea from the most important, as the Government used to say, PRSP Strategy for 2004-2006?
But this decision is still useful: the Government gave the country a telling argument in favor of the pressing necessity to reform the state apparatus.