Chicu: Moldova Is Losing Its Traditional Investment Advantages

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According to former Prime Minister and leader of the PDCM party, Ion Chicu, Moldova is losing its investment attractiveness because it no longer has the advantages that it could show to investors until recently. “Any shift - an increase in the energy tax burden - puts an end to any investment activity in Moldova. Perhaps they do not know that we – as a country – no longer have the comparative investment advantages that we once had,” quoted Chicu. He said this on the programme “7 zile” on Cinema 1, commenting on the “personal opinion” of Energy Minister Victor Parlicov about the need to raise the VAT on gas and electricity. The former Prime Minister stressed, “Moldova's investment offer, which mainly consisted in cheap and skilled labour force, cheap energy resources and the accessibility of EU and CIS markets, is no longer relevant”. “We have always said: ‘Come and invest in us because we have cheap and skilled labour force. We no longer have that. We used to say: ‘Come to us because all markets are open to us, from Paris to Nakhodka’, because we had a free trade regime with both the EU and the CIS”. “We no longer have that either. Although we formally have it, it is very difficult to use this. And the last argument to invest in Moldova was our cheapest energy resources. Now we don't have them. What is Mr. Minister going to do? Raise the tariffs to cosmic prices to destroy any investment opportunity? - Ion Chicu noted. Last week, Energy Minister Victor Parlicov proposed to raise the VAT on electricity and gas to increase budget revenues that could be used to increase energy efficiency. An increase in the VAT on electricity could raise the cost of electricity by 20 per cent and gas by 12 per cent. However, the Ministry later clarified that this was Parlicov’s “personal opinion”.