Interview with Natalia Gavriliţa, Minister of Finance of Republic of Moldova.
by Tiberiu Dianu
Natalia Gavriliţa was born on September 21, 1977 in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova. She graduated from the State University of Moldova at Chişinău (with a law degree and a major in international law, 2000), then she received a two-year grant (Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program, 2003) and graduated from Harvard University, the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts (with a master’s degree in public policy, 2005).
She worked as a political assistant (Bureau of Political and Economic Affairs, United States Embassy in the Republic of Moldova, 2000-2003), consultant (Office of the Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, World Bank, Washington, DC, United States, 2005; Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium, 2005-2006), head of department (Department for Policy and Macroeconomic Development, Ministry of Economy and Trade of the Republic of Moldova, 2007-2008; Policy and Aid Coordination Department, Government of the Republic of Moldova, 2008-2009), senior consultant (Public Sector Financing and Management Program, Oxford Policy Management, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2009-2011), portfolio manager (Valuation Methods, Statistics, Evidence and Accountability Program, Oxford Policy Management, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2011-2013), chief of general staff (Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova, 2013-2014), deputy minister/state secretary (Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova, 2014-2015) and general director (Global Innovation Fund, London, United Kingodm, 2015-2019).
Natalia Gavriliţa was appointed Minister of Finance of the Republic of Moldova (June 8, 2019 – to present).
During the period of September 18 to 19, 2019, a delegation of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, led by the Prime Minister Maia Sandu, visited the United States. Minister Natalia Gavriliţa was a delegation member. On September 18, 2019, the delegation met with the Diaspora representatives in Washington, DC at the Rayburn House Office Building. At the end of that meeting, Minister Natalia Gavriliţa granted me an exclusive interview.
Tell us, what are the goals of your visit to the United States?
We came with the Prime Minister [Maia Sandu] in order to have a series of meetings with the US officials. And, on the one hand, to inform about the challenges and opportunities that the government of the Republic of Moldova is facing and, on the other hand, to ask for the support and assistance of the United States for the reforms or the reform program initiated by this administration.
And on the financial line?
On the financial line we have, we have had meetings with the Treasury, with the United States Ministry of Finance. There, I asked, on the one hand, to consider the assistance in relations, in investigating the theft [of a billion dollars in Republic of Moldova] and punishing those who are guilty of this banking fraud and, on the other hand, the technical assistance for the development of the financial sector and the state securities market sector of the Republic of Moldova.
Very interesting. What are the challenges the Republic of Moldova is now facing in your field of activity?
First, we had a short-term challenge, of budgetary stabilization and relaunching relations with the IMF and the European Union, in order to continue to benefit from direct budget support. On the other hand, we need sources of financing for the budget deficit. But in the future we have some major challenges. So, it is the formulation of a budget for 2020, which would direct the resources towards the government’s development priorities and the growth of some programs, which means we need to find again additional sources of funding. And we also have priorities regarding the absorption capacity of Moldova for the funds that are available, the transparency of the way the public money is spent, the accountability of those who, therefore, spend the public money. So, these are the priorities.
How do you see, in your opinion, the role of Romania in fulfilling the goals of the Republic of Moldova?
Romania is a very important partner for the Republic of Moldova. We have very good relations. In particular we have priorities in the field of energy cooperation, in order to ensure energy independence, or to increase the degree of energy independence of the Republic of Moldova. Regarding the Ministry of Finance, we are in discussions to access some loans to finance the budget deficit. And, in fact, we have a series of cooperation programs in all areas. The Minister of Foreign Affairs [Nicu Popescu] spoke today about our discussion on eliminating roaming tariffs. We have joint projects in education, in culture, in research, in health. So, in fact, on any dimension of the work of this government, both the collaboration with Romania and the assistance of Romania, and sharing the experience of European integration are crucial for us.