Economy Ministry Octavian Calmîc: Moldovan economy is likely to grow in 2018

The Government believes that Moldova's economy has all the chances to grow in 2018. A boost will come from the massive investments that are foreseen in the road infrastructure development and energy. Octavian Calmîc will answer our questions whether or not this economical growth will allow the creation of new work places. (part 2)

-An important project is the one of energy, gas and electricity networks, Moldovan and European ones, through Romania. At what stage are these projects?

"We have been discussing this subject since the independence till now. Actually, between 2017 and 2018 took place many progresses in this sphere. On the one hand, we prepared the required documents. We prepared  the technical documentation on Iasi-Chisinau tube, that passes through Ungheni, we found the necessary resources, there are two main investors who borrow us the necessary money to cover all the costs of the pipeline. The investments are worth 90 million euros. The project already started and we hope to finish it till the end of 2018. There are two ways of implementing the project: one under the Government's responsibility with all the international procedures and the second one is the private one, that saves money and time and is more efficient. We should favor the private sector, as they are more efficient. So, now, we are in a process of privatizing the Vestmoldtransgaz company, that is responsible of pipeline and the implementation of the project till the end of 2018. We hope at the end of December, at least one European company will participate at the process. If none of the European companies won't participate at the process, then we will assume this project. We would like to find an European company with traditions and experience in this sphere, that will manage the gas transportation in Moldova. Then, we will have an alternative in our country. We are sure the project will be finished till the end of 2018, so in Decemeber, we will have market and we will select the most convenient providers. Another project is about the interconnection on electricity, a very important and expensive project. We talk about 250-300 million euros. We are aware those costs should be supported by the system, to have the independence from the traditional systems. In the past weeks we finished the negotiations with the main financiers, here we can mention the EBRD. They are ready to support this project with 70-80 million euros. Two other financiers are ready to borrow us some money and to offer a grant of 40 million euros. The Worlds Bank also wants to get involved in this project, so we can build the Isaccea-Vulcanesti-Chisinau tube and a back to back substation that provides the connection to the European system. This is a huge project, that required some technical implications. The Ukraine is involved in this project too, they want to change their infrastructure, to implement this project. They want to adapt their system to the European one, in, at least five years. So, the international organization will fund this project of Ukraine. When examining this project, the international organizations will take into consideration the Republic of Moldova's interests. So, the technical adjustments will be made by the international specialists and they will try to find the best solution on regional and local level. When we talk about the regional level, we mean the Ukraine and Republic of Moldova. This is why we want to have the international approvement till the end of 2018, to know for certainly what will be the solution of the project implementation, that needs to be implemented till 2020. This is a long project, but it will bring the energy independence for out country", said Octavian Calmic, the Minister of Economy and Infrastructure.

-Since 2017, the Ministry you are leading contains the infrastructure sphere. What roads and bridges will be given into use in 2018?

"We regret the thing that those sectors started to be leaded by me just from August. With all these, we managed to raise the speed of implementing many contracts signed in 2014 and 2015.We focused on the main highways and roads. We managed to recover the Ungheni-Chisinau road and the Ungheni belt road. Also, we concentrated on rehabilitation the existent roads. Thus, in 2017, there were repaired 190 kilometers of road and 400 kilometers are on their way to be repaired. We talk about the national roads. We attracted foreign investors, so we will have a bigger budget for the future year. If we talk about the bridges, then all the bridges that connect to those roads will be repaired this year. Here I can mention the Giurgiulesti-Balti road, so we will have a repaired road that connects the South and the North. We saved four milliard lei for the next years and we will use it for the road repair. Thus, we have 190 kilometers of road that are already repaired and other 400 kilometers that will be repaired soon. In the case of the Ungheni belt road, I am convinced the repair works will be finished soon" said Octavian Calmic.

-A big problem is the encroachment of construction terms, by the entrepreneurs. What will the authorities implement to make them respect the deadlines?

"The contracts provide some penalties and some administrative elements, that will be applied. Our target is to not to fulfill those contracts, as this implies extra costs for the lawyers, advisers and so on. We discuss with all those companies, we try to bring not only the companies in Moldova, but their equipment too, so, the next year they will develop the road infrastructure from Moldova. There were cases when famous international companies gained projects in Moldova, but they didn't have a serious behavior according to this, they didn't respect the technical endowment and they can't guarantee the quality we expect. This is why we try to convince those companies to bring the required tools, experts and equipment. This is why we will recover the terms that were already encroached and will finish the projects. We will try to avoid those mistakes in future. Now, we strengthen the State Road Administration team, so each company will have an interface or a contact person in this structure. Since 2018, there will be another treatment of the roads repair, a simpler and faster one. We try to make the international companies to be more responsible, this is how we will finish all the project with success", said Octavian Calmic, the Minister of Economy and Infrastructure.



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