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FINAL REPORT Project name: LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE STATE FINANCIAL SYSTEM: MOLDO-AMERICAN INTERCULTURAL EXCHANGE (July, 22 – July, 28, 2013)

August, 18 2013

LFP alumna Veronica Vragaleva organizes out bound project entitled "Legal aspects of the state financial system: Moldovan-American intercultural exchange" (July 22-July 28, 2013)

 

Name of Fellow: Veronica Vragaleva, Republic of Moldova, Fall 2012 LFP Alumna

Name of US Guests: Mike Brubaker, Senator of Pennsylvania, and his wife Cindy

 

Supported by American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, with funds provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State

INTRODUCTION

Being an intern at the Pennsylvania Senate as part of the LFP/PFP Program I  had the chance and opportunity to study how this subdivision works, what are the duties and responsibilities of the team and how the team work like a unique body.  Also, I had an opportunity to visit Pennsylvanian Department of Revenue (which is the equivalent of the Main State Tax Inspectorate in Moldova) and to study processes and normative background of tax system of Pennsylvania.  I realized that in the Republic of Moldova we perform the same activities but in a different way. By proposing the outbound project, I tried to bring American experience to Moldova and to share our experience with US officials.

 

The main goals of the Outbound Project were to:

1.      Familiarize US visitor with financial system legal aspects of the Republic of Moldova and initiate Moldovan colleagues into the legal aspects of US financial system (on state level);

2.    Promote good governance practices between professionals, researchers and civil society, in general;

3.    Identify opportunities for cooperation and exchange programs.

 

In order to reach the above mentioned goals, there has been drawn an action plan comprising concrete activities to be realized within the project. The activities intended share information on legal aspects of financial systems of Moldova and US; brainstorm potential solutions and adjustments for financial system of Moldova and US; identify common interest for forthcoming institutional cooperation; organize round tables with implication of interested audients in order to disseminate best practices of good governance; familiarize US guests with Moldovan national culture and traditions.

 

The project was important for the development and enhancing capacities of professionals involved in activities related to issues concerning financial system from executive branch (Ministry of Finances, The Man State Tax Inspectorate with its territorial bodies, The Territorial House of Social Security), as well as from legislative branch (The Parliament). Also, an important achievement was to meet with researchers from public and private institution involved in researches in economics, finance and statistics and with representatives of several US State representatives in Moldovan Economy.

 

Due to that, it was a 6 days plan drafted. The detailed description of it will be shown further.

MEETINGS AND EXPERIENCE SHARING WITH INTERESTED PARTIES

 

Basically, the active days of the project (except the day of arrival and the day of departure) was divided in 5 parts: The Main State Tax Inspectorate and Ministry of Finance Day, The District Office Day, The Children and Research Day, American Day, Museum Day.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker arrived to Moldova on Monday, July, 22.

Basically, first day was an introduction to time schedule for coming week, sharing the way in which all the things should work and planning activities which are connecting more with leisure and cultural aspects than to project of itself for being sure that planned activities are what our guests were expected.      

 

The Main State Tax Inspectorate and Ministry of Finance Day (July, 23) was mainly dedicated to visit the main hosting institution - the Main State Tax Inspectorate (MSTI).

At the MSTI, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker met top management of the MSTI and chiefs of General Departments and Strategic Department.

 

So, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker met First Deputy Chief of the MSTI - Mr. Iuri Lichii, with whom they spoke about VAT system in the Republic of Moldova and about the existing difference between this system and US sales and use tax system.

Also, it was presented the general overview of the tax system of the Republic of Moldova - the presentation which includes well-organized information about the tax system as a whole and about every of its components, in particular.

 

In time of the presentation, a set of high-ranked MSTI's officials presents their duties as a part of system: Mrs. Irina Macritscaia - Head of Strategic Development and Project Implementation Division, Mr. Stanislav Rusu - Head of International Cooperation and European Integration Division, Mr. Eduard Poddubnii - Head of Taxes and Fees General Department, Mr. Igor Lazari - Head of Tax Compliance General Department, Mrs. Maia Tverdohleb - Head of Taxation of high-wealthy individuals Department and other persons which contributed with their inputs to general presentation of tax system in Moldova.

 

The second part of the day was mainly at the Ministry of Finance, meeting with top managers of that the most important strategic finance institution of the country. In the time of the meeting with Mr. Victor Barbaneagra - Deputy Minister of Finance - and Mrs. Anastasia Certan - Head of Taxes and Customs Policy and Legislation General Department - were initiated an interesting and productive discussion about international economic cooperation between Moldova and US, especially about double taxation avoidance agreement between our states and about potential economic cooperation between Moldova and Pennsylvania State.

 

I found this experience to be highly valuable. I found the current tax system here in Moldova to be highly functional and the authorities within the system to be highly intelligent and willing to consider new approaches that bring efficiencies to their responsibilities. I see only 'upside potential' for Pennsylvania and Moldova to continue to share policies and practices within the field of Taxation and beyond, and to explore innovative concepts to improve the implementation of a fair, just and efficient system of taxation.

(Mr. Mike Brubaker's opinion about tax system of Moldova expressed in MONITORUL FISC.MD magazine - official publication of MSTI)

 

The day ends with official dinner in traditional Moldovan Restaurants, where Brubakers had the opportunity to taste Moldovan food and to listen to Moldovan traditional music.

The second official day was The District Office Day (July, 24) which was a journey to the north of the country (175 km from Chisinau), to the Soroca District Tax Office and to the Soroca Territorial House of Social Security.

At the entrance to Soroca District, Brubakers were warmly welcomed in traditional Moldovan style by Soroca Territorial House of Social Security.

In the second part of the day, Brubakers met management of the Soroca District Tax Office and share their Lancaster country experience with local fees and development.

The rest of the day will be widely described in Exploring Moldova and Moldovan Culture Section.

The day ends with the dinner with organizational team in Bulgarian-Gagauzian restaurant (Gagauzians and Bulgarians are the most nations in Autonomy Territorial Unit Gagauz Yeri which is situated in south part of Moldova), where guests had the opportunity to taste traditional Gagauzian and Bulgarian meal.

 

On July, 25 was The Children and Research Day.

In this day, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker visited 20 Access students from Balti and Varnita/Bender at the Access Summer Camp.

The guests enjoyed 3 hours of lively communication with Moldovan teens; learned many interesting things about the Access Micro-Scholarship Program from Moldova; got impressed from many students' online community-service projects; collaboratively built 3-D puzzles of famous American buildings; shared a lot of interesting facts about U.S. life and culture; and got actively involved in many teambuilding activities. During the whole meeting, the honorable guests together with students tried their skills in various games, obtaining perfect results.

In the afternoon of the same day, the round table was organized by Institute of Economy, Finance and Statistics - the main important research station in economics on state level in the Republic of Moldova. The subject of the round table was "Economic relations between Republic of Moldova and USA: achievement, challenges and perspectives". On this round table participated representatives of Institute, of the most powerful think-thank "Expert Group", of American Chamber of Commerce, of the Academy of Sciences and Phd students in economics.

 

In the end of the day, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker visited Moldovan Intellectual Games Club's activity - Moldcell Cafe, where there were presented, on a elected way, the young people with high intellectual potential, which enjoyed Senator and his wife. From the other hand, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker were very interested in question which was addressed to the teams, especially because some of them were related to Americans and different aspects of American Culture.

 

On July, 26 was American Day, which includes meeting with different authorities and organizations which are connected to US.

 

So, in the beginning of the day, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker visited American Councils Moldova's Office and met with Mr. David Jesse - Country Director.

Mr. Jesse presented general overview of AC's activities and basic programs which are mostly demanded by Moldovans.

 

The day continued with meeting with Mrs. Lauren Perlaza - Public Affairs Officer at United States Embassy in the Republic of Moldova. Mrs. Perlanza presented a larger overview of project in Moldova which are financed or assisted by US Embassy.

 

The next meeting was with American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova - an organization, which represents interests not just of American entrepreneurs, but also the entrepreneurs from other countries which are operated in Moldova.

 

Mainly, discussion was focused on AmCham activity in Moldova - establishment and activities in our days - and its members. Also, discussion touched interaction between AmCham and the Government of the Republic of Moldova in respect to different public policies, especially on tax and customs duties.

 

In the afternoon, the meeting with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) took place. From USAID part, Mrs. Stephanie Budzina   and Mr. Corneliu Rusnac - Senior Project Management Specialist on Economic Growth - and Mr. S. Kelly Seibold as Chief of Party in Business Regulatory, Investment and Trade Environment Program (BRITE) were participated.

The discussion was focused on main results which programs administrated by USAID achieved in Moldova since the beginning of its existence and the major projects which are still on roll.

 

The next meeting was at the American Resource Center (ARC) which is administered by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Moldova. The mission of the ARC is to provide information about the United States of America - its society, politics, history, economy, democratic traditions, holidays, and other issues of interest to the Moldovan audience.

Mr. Brubaker had an interactive interaction with English Discussion Club's members on different subjects which consisted the area of interest of both parts.

 

The last (but not the least) official meeting was at Moldovan Parliament and several representatives of Moldovan Government.

 

In this order, Mr. Brubaker and his wife met Mr. Oleg Bodrug (Deputy President of Moldovan Parliament), Mrs. Tatiana Poting (Deputy Prime Minister) and Mr. Boris Gherasim (Deputy Minister of Transport and Road Infrastructure).

The main topic of discussion was focused on how Moldovan authorities percept the aid which comes from US through its different projects and organizations.

 

On July, 27 was Museum Day which will be broadly described in next part.

 

 

EXPLORING MOLDOVA AND MOLDOVAN CULTURE

 

For better understanding Moldovans and Moldovan culture, it was necessary to meet not just with officials in Chisinau, but also to travel to North of Moldova, where the most natural monuments and monasteries are located.

In order to respect this plan, Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker traveled to Soroca Fortress, which leads to 15th century and was raised up by Stephen the Great (the biggest Moldovan king). Also, they visited Curchi Monastery Complex which is considered one of most beautiful in Moldova and Old Orhei archeological complex, which contains traces of different civilizations, including a Geto-Dacian fortress (6th-1st centuries. BC. Oe.) Fort Golden Horde Shehri al-Jedid or Yangi-Shehri (second half of AD 14th century.) Orthodox monasteries (c 14th century) and the Moldavian town Vechi (15th-17th centuries).

Also, we visited Moldovan Historical Museum for familiarized our American guests with Moldovan history and traditions and, of course, the biggest wine cellar in the world - Milestii Mici.

 

 

APPEARANCES IN MOLDOVAN MEDIA

 

1. Sen. Mike Brubaker at the Main State Tax Inspectorate of Moldova

http://www.fisc.md/article.aspx?id=1391

2. Sen. Mike Brubaker on biggest national news portal

http://unimedia.info/comunicate/senatorul-american-mike-brubaker-a-apreciat-inalt-intrevederea-cu-seful-ifps-ion-prisacaru-1232.html

3. Sen. Mike Brubaker at round table, organized by Institute of Economy, Finance and Statistics.

-       Announcement: http://iefs.md/en/news-and-events/roundtables/91-roundtable.html

-       About round table:

http://iefs.md/ro/noutci-i-evenimente/mese-rotunde/331-mas-rotund-irelaiile-economice-ale-republicii-moldova-cu-statele-unite-ale-americii-realizri-provocri-i-perspective.html

4. Sen. Mike Brubaker at Intellectual game Moldcell Cafe on internet television portal www.privesc.eu

http://www.privesc.eu/Arhiva/17633/-Ce--Unde--Cand---din-25-iulie-2013

5. Visiting ACCESS students at Summer Camp

http://americancouncils.md/access/news/828

6. Visiting the American Resource Center

https://www.facebook.com/arc.moldova

 

Testimonials from Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker

 

Cindy and I wanted to write you to inform you of our evaluation of our time in Moldova.

In a summary, the meetings, schedule, hotel, meals, interaction with people, experiences were all Superb. We could not ask for a better experience. Your personal pick up and drop off at the airport was extremely touching and aided our travels. Your continued confirmations of all appointments to ensure the time would be of value and productive was much appreciated. Each day was full of high level meetings along with physical activity (walking to and from meetings) which offered the perfect balance. Each person we encountered was extremely gracious, friendly and wanted to help in anyway. The Country side of Moldova is as lovely as are your cities.

We enjoyed both rural and urban Moldova. Most of all, we were both able to return to USA and tell everyone that will listen to us, about the wonderful people and cultures of Moldova. This experience would not be possible without the US State Dept sponsored program and without them selecting young professionals that are ready and willing to grow in their knowledge of America as well as teach Americans about their Home Country.  I can not compliment you, and the program coordinators enough. The experience we both shared changed our view of Moldova forever, and for the better.

With Respect,


Mike and Cindy Brubaker

 

Great experience. Great people. Great program.

Thank you very much for that!

 

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