Moldova's Oil Exporters Stage Protest

On Tuesday small and medium firms importing oil and products to Moldova staged an action of protest in Chisinau. Early in the morning they brought over 40 oil tank trucks to the government building in the central square and at mid-day drivers and workers from gasoline fuelling stations gathered for a meeting there. They demanded revision of the government's decision to introduce new rules for importers of oil products -- presence of at least 2 million dollars as authorized capital, own oil storage tanks of at least 25,000 cubic/meter capacity and the bringing in of oil products only by rail. Over 3,000 demonstrators, whom the government actually stripped of their jobs, participated. Only large importers can abide by the government-set terms while small and medium business has to curtail its activities, said Nikolai Berezovski, chairman of the Moldovan Oil Importers' Union. So far, drivers are not staging radical actions of protest. They have forgone their earlier decision to block all roads leading to the capital. But, if their interests are still neglected, the situation may get out of hand, Nikolai Berezovski warned.

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