Although Moldova is not part of the European Union, the country strives to stay in-line with EU regulations, Andrei Caciurenco, Partner at ACI Partners says, so the GDPR is as hot a topic there as it is elsewhere.
According to Caciurenco, in recent years many companies have started to pay more attention to personal data protection, data management, and storage, and many of them have registered as personal data operators. “Both the business and the legal community is taking this very seriously, and I think that companies are more aware and more cautions today in this sense,” he says.
The GDPR is not the only field where Moldova is trying to harmonize its legislation with EU principles and expectations, Caciurenco says. He explains that “we have a new law on banking activity, which came into force on January 1, 2018, and it aims to strengthen the regulation, supervision, and risk management of banks. Banks are stricter on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk. Moldova is really trying to stay in-line with EU norms, especially when it comes to the financial sector, which is the backbone of the country’s economy.”
Caciurenco thinks these changes will, ultimately, be good for business. “It should definitely be a positive change, for it reflects a commitment to create more transparent and stable banking legislation, and to become an active member of the international financial community.”
Caciurenco reports that M&A activity is quite high in Moldova at the moment, with foreign investors making serious investments and acquisitions, especially in mobile networks, energy distribution networks, and the IT sector.
“At the end of last year, and the beginning of 2018, the first (and so far only) park for information technology was created here, called the ‘Moldova IT Park,’ Caciurenco says. “Companies [in the park] — or residents, as we call them — benefit from a very good tax regime in the park. The government combined several taxes, so now they pay a single tax of 7% of monthly sales revenue (but not less than 30% of the average monthly wage in the economy, predicted for the fiscal year, per one employee). This tax includes the income tax on entrepreneurial activity, income tax on salary, compulsory social insurance contributions, compulsory medical insurance payment (by the employee and employer), local taxes, real estate tax, and road usage tax.” According to him, these benefits make it “very attractive,” for foreign companies to register in the park. “The initial target was to attract around 40 companies,” he says, “but now there are more than 180 residents, and this number is increasing every single day.”