Entrepreneurs ask Cabinet to tackle economic growth measures with IMF


PM Ponta stressed the discussions with IMF delegation will not refer to measures that will compensate the absence of money caused by the delay in the enforcement of the excise on fuel.

A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrives today in Bucharest, together with officials of the European Commission (EC) and World Bank (WB), for talks on the first and second evaluation of the stand-by accord, a visit due to end on February 5. The government wants the Board of the IMF to approve two evaluations of Romania’s preventive agreement, after President Traian Basescu refused to sign the latest letter of intent, thus opposing the enforcement of the supplementary excise of 7 eurocents per liter of fuel, a document that will conclude the evaluation conducted at the end of last year by the IMF. The local business environment appeals to the Executive to act in the spirit of the position recently adopted by the EC, according to which especially the policies of the IMF and WB are not in total concordance with the objectives assumed by member states through the EU 2020 Agenda.
“The Romanian Businessmen’s Association (AOAR) supports the need to find fiscal space for the adoption of measures that allow the economic development, as prerequisite to increasing the incomes to the budget. Further using the increasing of the tax regime and other measures that reduce possible budgetary incomes (delays in the enforcement of royalties for the exploitation of gas and oil deposits, currently frozen, unjustified increases of the price of natural gas a.s.o.) will have serious consequences for the economic competitiveness of Romania, which is still in a thorough process of structural change,” reads a communiqué issued by the Association. The entrepreneurs thus demand the government to support, in the talks with the IMF delegation, the need for taking more measures, such as securing special financial resources for the support of the investment potential of the private sector, accepting the fiscal consolidation for the group of companies with Romanian capital, similar to the practice accepted for the group of international companies, significantly increasing the financing of some programmes that generate jobs, reducing the fiscal regime of salary incomes. “AOAR asks the government to adopt, in the future negotiations, a firm position that favours a sustainable economic development, not just meeting immediate macroeconomic criteria, a practice that has already proved its limits by freezing domestic consumption in 2013 and reducing budget incomes, even in the conditions of an important economic growth,” adds the communiqué.
In his turn, PM Victor Ponta said before a meeting of the BPN of PSD held yesterday that tax-exempting the reinvested profit is an achievable objective in 2014. Asked if the proposal made by PNL about exempting reinvested profit from taxation is feasible, Ponta explained: “It has many chances to succeed, because things went well in 2013.” He added that investments, too, increased in 2013. Ponta added that the decrease of the CAS will come into force on July 1st, as agreed.
On the other hand, the opposition, too, wants to meet the IMF delegation. “PDL demanded to PSD, PNL and Premier Victor Ponta that during the talks with the Fund they do not try to range within the deficit by inventing taxes and dues and, on the contrary, to take measures aimed at the economic increase and at reducing the tax evasion,” PDL leader Vasile Blaga said Monday, quoted by Mediafax. Blaga added that the government can even give up the 7 eurocent tax on fuel, as all prices go up in Romania even without this tax being enforced. “They must take other measures aimed at economic growth, not at destroying the few investments provided in the budget,” Blaga added. In reply, PM Ponta said also that the talks with the IMF delegation will not refer to measures that will compensate the absence of money caused by the delay in the enforcement of the excise on fuel. “No, not at all. One cannot discuss until July 1st. On July 1st we draw the line for the first half and see if we are on the plus or minus compared to what we have forecast even after July 1st, as it is done every year,” Ponta mentioned. He added that only then it will be possible to come with positive or negative rectification measures, as imposed by the situation.

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