The business community and investors are concerned about a new initiative of the PAS deputy and have written a letter to the top leadership of the country.
According to the letter, which the Employers’ Association “American Chamber of Commerce of Moldova” (AmCham Moldova) addressed to the country’s president, Maia Sandu, speaker Igor Grosu, prime minister Natalia Gavrilița, but also to the NBM governor, Octavian Armașu, the draft amendment to Article 15 of the Law on the activity of banks, drafted by Dumitru Alaiba, Dan Perciun and Victor Spînu, encourages the dark economy and does not correspond to European norms.
The initiative of the three PAS deputies, which has already been registered in Parliament, stipulates that banks may not charge to micro, small and medium-sized entities commissions higher than 0.5% of the value of a payment transaction made with a bank card, regardless of the type of card. If this value exceeds the amount of 5 lei, the maximum applicable commission will be the amount of 5 lei.
“Even though we had the pleasure of being informed, as a community, by the author about the intention, the argumentation notes were not made available to the community,” the letter written by AmCham Moldova states.
Businesses warn that these changes will encourage banks to abandon the installation of payment terminals in small and medium-sized enterprises, which creates favorable foundations for the shadow economy.
If the commission is changed from 2% to 0.5%, “we can expect proportional changes in the share of non-cash transactions with the participation of SMEs, which will decrease. Reducing the transparency of payments, in turn, will affect the tax revenues of SMEs and will increase the level of the underground economy in Moldova “, the letter states.
At the same time, AmCham Moldova warns that the limitation of the commission does not correspond to the regulations of the European Union. However, in 2014, Moldova and the EU signed the Association Agreement, which, among other things, states that the parties reiterate their commitment to the principles of a free market economy, sustainable development and efficient multilateralism. Moreover, Moldova is committed to progressively bringing its legislation in the relevant sectors closer to that of the EU and to implementing it effectively.
Studies show that the informal economy now accounts for 23% of world GDP, and the relationship between digital payments and the informal economy is reversed: even a 5% increase in digital payments per year for five consecutive years can reduce the informal economy by 10 , 8% to 12.9%. Adopting a faster pace of implementation of digital payments – for example, increasing digital payments by 20% – is likely to reduce the informal economy by 16.1% – 21.8%.
According to the World Bank, in Moldova about 27% of total household expenditures fall on non-cash forms of payment, while in EU countries this figure is 60-70%, in Scandinavian countries – about 95%.
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