ANTA strategy and recommendations from USAID Structural Reforms Project experts
ANTA, the national road transport agency, is the domestic institution in charge with public policy and strategic planning for the road transport sector; after several reorganizations, now badly needs institutional consolidation and development.
Objectives and Risks
In partnership with the USAID Structural Reforms Program in Moldova, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, ANTA has presented the Strategic Development Program (SDP) for the period 2018-2020 and the actions recommended to improve the Agency’s operational capacities - based on the findings of a study that assesses the trade corridors of Moldova, which has been completed recently by the Structural Reforms Program in Moldova.
ANTA Director Vsevolod Bocșanean has said at the presentation event in Chisinau that SDP is a milestone document for the Agency’s strategic planning, paving the way for policy development in the management of freight transportation by road. Reaching out the objectives of SDP would allow Moldova to have a sustainable and efficient road transportation system, he underlined.
The Program aims to touch the ground of six objectives: developing a quality-oriented organizational management; modernizing the public services / technology endowment; improving the checks and verification process; improving human resources and staff training; enhancing responsibility and transparency; and expanding international cooperation.
Albeit, SDP identifies five possible risks for ANTA in the given period, and the biggest are the eventual withdrawal of development partners’ support for the program and continued drain of human resources.
ANTA estimates suggest that around 500 million lei will be necessary to fund the planned activities.
Douglas Muir, Chief of Party of the USAID Structural Reforms Program in Moldova, said the Program is in a continuous dialogue with ANTA and will provide the necessary support for SDP implementation. The study conducted by USAID specialists revealed the existence of a number of constraints for the freight transportation and without capacity building for ANTA these constraints won’t be eliminated.
Trade barriers and solutions
Mr. Muir has reviewed several key factors that harm the transportation development and the trade corridors. “You have the Giurgiulesti International Port which you are not using at full capacity; you have the Transnistrian region, which hinders the exports from Moldova; you have a border with Romania, which is an EU border and which maintains strict requirements from the European Union… Our findings show that the worst constraints are happening at the border crossing points into Romania, where truckers are forced to wait long hours in order to cross the border. Mind please that more than 65% of Moldovan exports are heading towards EU markets,” Douglas Muir stated. He added, 70% of time to ship goods from Moldova is wasted at the border.
The Chief of Party believes that joint efforts of both countries - Moldova and Romania - are required in order to get this problem solved.
Mr. Muir also mentioned the poor condition of roads in Moldova as a trade barrier, especially in the case of certain perishable products. Border crossing delays harm the performance of trade corridors and the trade business as a whole.
Selective inspection via risk assessment
Oleg Grigoroi, a senior specialist at the USAID Structural Reforms Project in Moldova, covered in his presentation Objective 3: the state inspection reform. Besides the verification of transporters, ANTA is also entitled to check how labor safety rules and consumer protection are being enforced. The Structural Reforms Program has designed a sectorial methodology to enable ANTA conduct selective inspections based on criteria of risk assessment of companies.
Representatives of transportation companies welcomed the program but also called for its implementation beyond Moldovan borders. “It is necessary that the neighboring countries embrace the same measures and the shipping process gets streamlined effectively,” said Eugen Datco, head of the Moldovan Union of Road-Builders.
In reply, Sergiu Bucataru, state secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, has assured that the Moldovan authorities maintain a permanent communication with Ukraine and Romania regarding the transport facilitation objectives. “We are working with Ukrainians on enforcement of a liberalized freight regime, and we are also working with the Romanian side to simplify the customs clearance procedures,” the official said.
Addressing the time loss issue at the border with Romania, the administrator of AITA (International Auto Transportation Agency), Dumitru Albulesa, singled out its main cause: for routine checkups Moldova and Romania continue to exchange information in the transportation sector on paper, instead of using online instruments. “That has to change,” he stressed.