Minister resigns after firewood portal criticism


Moldovan official failed to roll out winter fuel sales website before deadline

Moldova’s environment minister resigned a day after the prime minister criticized her for missing a deadline to launch a website that should help people buy firewood for the winter.

Iuliana Cantaragiu left her post on Thursday. In a statement on Facebook, she touted her record of reforms at the Department of the Environment and thanked the people she worked with for their service. Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita has accepted his resignation.

The prime minister criticized Cantaragiu at a government meeting for his failure to launch a service to help Moldovans buy firewood for the winter season. The web portal and a telephone hotline were to be launched on September 1.

Cantaragiu blamed unidentified « the partners » involved in developing the website for the delay and said it would be ready in two weeks. The Prime Minister observed that at that point the service would no longer be needed.

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“Things have to be done in time for the information to be useful. A volunteer could create the website in a day,” Gavrilita noted, quoted by local media.

The minister was asked about the swap at a press conference the same day, with media speculating her resignation was imminent. She said that not meeting the deadline was « complitly normal » because « there are things beyond our control. »

In early August, the national forestry agency Moldsilva warned that Moldova could face a shortage of firewood due to increased demand amid the global energy crisis. The Environment Ministry said the portal would help prevent price hikes.

The proposal exposed the government to some ridicule from citizens, who questioned whether creating a website, whose name means “firewood” in Moldovan, was the best use of public funds.


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