A national business agenda (NBA) is a powerful tool and platform for business people to engage in a proactive dialogue with policy-makers on issues affecting the private sector in a given country. Developing an NBA requires the private sector to collaborate to identify issues that constrain business activity, offer proposals and solutions to address the issues, and present them in an open and transparent manner to public officials. This private-sector led approach has been instrumental in advancing economic reform agendas in countries around the world.
Over the last seven years in Moldova, the NBA Network, a coalition of 35 business associations and chambers of commerce, has become one of the most recognized and respected advocates for business. In cooperation with an independent think tank, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDSI), and with CIPE support, the NBA Network has been instrumental in the passage of a more transparent tax inspection law, the simplification of the business registration, tax collection and customs procedures, and other legislative changes to foster business creation and development. In 2014, Moldova’s government took concrete steps towards adopting half of the policy proposals generated by the Network.
Capitalizing on the success of the NBA Network at the national level, on January 28, 2015, IDSI and the Moldovan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a cooperative agreement engage the business community at the regional level in the creation of local business agendas. Local business agendas will reinvigorate the reform agenda, from the bottom-up, both by giving a voice to the private sector in Moldova’s regions, and ensuring that national-level reformers are responsive to the concerns of average citizens.
IDSI experts are currently working with all ten regional branches of the Moldovan Chamber to create local task forces. The ten task forces will act as facilitators to help each local business community coalesce and identify common policy priorities and solutions, which they will use to advocate with local officials for pro-business reforms. According to IDSI Senior Economist Tatiana Lariushin, “Local business agendas will help connect small businesses with the decision-making process at the local level, which will in turn seek to influence policies at the national level.”
Carmen Stanila is a Senior Consultant for CIPE.
Assistant Program Officer for Eurasia David Mack edited this post.