Books on Moldova
Leu (plural: Lei)
Formerly ruled by Romania, Moldova became part of the Soviet Union at the
close of World War II. Although independent from the USSR since 1991,
Russian forces have remained on Moldovan territory east of the Nistru (Dnister)
River supporting the Slavic majority population, mostly Ukrainians and
Russians, who have proclaimed a "Transnistria" republic. One of the
poorest nations in Europe and plagued by a moribund economy, in 2001
Moldova became the first former Soviet state to elect a communist as its
Update No: 281 - (27/05/04)
Back from the cold
The Moldovans are out on a limb. Nobody in the West really cares a damn about them, not even their Romanian cousins next door, with whom they share a common language and culture. They are too poor and without resources to bother about.
Hence why they have returned to communist rule. The ten years or more in which they tried 'reform' under Western tutelage brought a contraction of the economy by two thirds and the emergence of a lot of corruption and crime.
In the spring of 2002 they voted back the Communist Party of Moldova in parliamentary elections. Under the constitution the parliament elects the president, which it duly did, President Vladimir Voronin. At least the communists would be less corrupt, the population must have thought.
Economy turning the corner?
They have proved so. The economy, moreover, is actually picking up, so it would seem. Admittedly things had got so bad, Moldova taking over from Albania the wooden spoon of being the poorest country in Europe, that it was a question of nowhere to go but up!
GDP growth is in near double figures. But it is going to take time before it will prove to be for real, meaning advances in welfare for the population as a whole.
Gazprom for Moldova Gas
Moldova has proposed Russia's Gazprom company as the main shareholder of the joint Moldova Gas company to participate in the national gas programme implementation, in particular to invest in the Chisinau-Causeni pipeline construction, Itar-Tass reported on April 15th.
Moldovan Prime Minister, Vasile Tarlev, made the proposal during a meeting with the Gazprom board's deputy head, Alexander Ryazanov, on April 14th, the Moldovan government's press service said. Ryazanov noted the positive trend of increasing Moldovan payments for Russian gas from 45% in 2000 to 85% in early 2004.
Moldova draws up power plant development plan
Moldova will build two big heat and power plants in the next three years and increase the capacity of the working plants, Energy Minister, Yakob Timchuk, said recently, Itar-Tass News Agency reported.
The government plans to settle the investment issue by the end of this year. The plants' cost is estimated at €500m.
The minister said power plants would be built in the northern city of Balti (Beltsy) and in the south of the country. The present power capacity is insufficient. Moldova consumes about 3.4bn kilowatts an hour, while produces 1.2bn.
Experts predict the deficit will grow even more by 2010. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has set a task for the government to make the country's energy less dependent on external suppliers.
Moldova at present buys two thirds of electricity from the hydroelectric station located in the Dniester region and from Ukraine, with part of electricity supplied to Moldova bought by Ukraine from the Russian unified Energy Systems (UES).
In another development the government decided to cancel a tender to privatise two electricity distribution companies RED Nord and RED Nord-Vest arguing there was only one bidder - Russia's ZAO Inter RAO USES.
The decision was based on a recommendation made by the privatisation committee, Prime Minister, Vasile Tarlev, who heads the committee, said. As per state legislation, if only one company bids in a privatisation tender the government can hold individual talks with that company after cancelling the tender.
Tarlev did not say whether Moldova would hold such talks with ZAO Inter RAO UES. AES in Russia initially showed interest in the tender, but then pulled out after detailed study of its terms.
EBRD deals with Moldindconbank
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering whether to open US$5m loan line for Moldindconbank SA, the bank said recently. The funds will go to grant credits to Moldova's small and medium business, financial news agencies reported. EBRD considered the issue on May 25th. Moldindconbank is Moldova's fourth credit institution with 10-11% share on the bank's market of the country. The assets amounted to around US$80m as of late 2003, 2003 net profit - US$3.5m. The bank had more than 900 shareholders, including foreign investors, New Europe reported.
KFAED offers loan to Moldova
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) will allocate a US$6.5m loan to Moldova for a project to provide drinking water for 6 districts, Interfax News Agency reported.
The deal was reached when Moldovan President, Vladimir Voronin, visited Kuwait from March 6th to 7th, Voronin said. The loan will be allocated for 25 years at 1.5% with a 10-year grace period, he said. "Those I talked with said Moldovan-Kuwait relations would largely depend on us. If we show interest and practicality, we will be able to count on investment in the Moldovan economy from companies in Kuwait," Voronin said.
MINERALS & METALS
Hares picks up 90% of MMZ
The Austrian-Ukrainian Hares Group has acquired a 90% stake in the close joint-stock company Moldovan Steel Mill (MMZ), located in the Transnistrian town of Rybnitsa, Interfax News Agency reported on April 7th.
Hares took over the 75% stock held by Itera Group of Russia, which, according to spokesperson, Yevgeny Ostapov, has decided to focus on the oil and gas business. "Although our company provided the steel mill with natural gas, this was not really our business," he said. Hares Group is withholding details of the transaction. The company has been running metal products trade between Ukraine and other countries since 1982.
GSM services growing in Moldova
By the end of the year, some 18% of the Moldovan population will use GSM services, predicts Frances Gelibter, president of Voxtel, einnews reported recently.
According to him, citing a report in Eastern Wireless Analyst magazine, at present the quantity of the 'Voxtel' subscribers stands at 323,000 people and by the end of the year it is expected to increase to 400,000. The magazine report said Voxtel possessed 62% of the mobile connection market (293,100 subscribers) by the end-2003.
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