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Talks mainly aimed at the state budget for this year and preparing the meeting with the IMF. Among others, PM Ponta will demand the increase of the minimum salary from RON 700 to RON 800. The top management of the National Statistics Institute was replaced.
President Traian Basescu and PM Victor Ponta met Thursday for talks that focused – according to the Presidency – on the state budget for 2013 and – according to the Government – on the nearing visit of the IMF delegation, and on other important topics for 2013, presidential spokesman Bogdan Oprea said for MEDIAFAX. “During this meeting, the sides also approached other topics of importance for 2013,” reads a communiqué. The government added that “the meeting was part of the normal institutional framework Government-Presidency.”Premier Victor Ponta said Thursday evening on RTV that, during talks with the IMF on the budget for this year, he will request the increase of the minimum salary in the economy from RON 700 to RON 800, which should be enforced immediately after the draft budget gets approved. The ruling programme of USL provides the increase of the minimum salary to RON 1,000 during 2013-2016.PM Ponta also wants to add on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting an ordinance allowing mayors to rule on increasing local taxes, but the act will be enforced after President Basescu signs the Law that empowers the Executive to issue ordinances. The premier said Friday, in a cabinet meeting, that the law must be published by the Official Gazette before the ordinance on local taxes and dues and informed ministers that he discussed the theme with the president, which assured him that he will sign the respective law as early as Friday.The draft budget for this year will be discussed with all parties represented in Parliament, also with the opposition, PM Ponta said, adding that he wants to go with all pertinent ministers to all parliamentary groups, in order to present the draft budget. He also mentioned that he wants to give the media and the civil society a thorough overview of Romania’s current situation in the near future.A mission of the International Monetary Fund, led by Erik de Vrijer, will be in Bucharest on January 15-29 for the 7th and 8th evaluation of the stand-by accord. “The IMF mission will discuss with Romanian authorities about recent economic evolutions and prognosis, the consolidated budget for 2013, the progress of structural reforms and the monetary policy,” IMF representative for Romania and Bulgaria, Tonny Lybek informed in a press release.
Ponta lashes at CNSC management
In a separate move, the government will modify the law for unblocking tenders currently stopped by the Council for Solving Complaints, according to PM Ponta, who criticised CNSC’s decision to block the project of the Comarnic-Brasov motorway. The chief of the institution, Bogdan Lehel is a friend of PDL leaders Blaga and Udrea, Ponta added on Antena 3, saying that the people of CNSC behave like “gods.”Premier Ponta demanded that a solution is found in court for resuming the tender for the Comarnic-Brasov motorway, warning that he will no longer accept the “abuse and tricks” committed by the chief of the Council.
Statistical error about GDP cuts budget spending by RON 1 bln
Premier Victor Ponta announced Thursday that a calculation error made by the National Statistics Institute (INS) will determine the reduction of budgetary expenses for next year by almost RON 1 bln in order to range within the agreed deficit target. INS officials admitted the differences between figures, saying that, rather than an error, this is a reality revealed by the final data on the evolution of the GDP. INS officials also mentioned that they could have not foreseen these differences. INS uses the EU methodology on the GDP, which relies on sending – for 21 months – for current indicators three versions of estimation – provisional (at 70 days), semi-final (at 9 months) and final (at 21 months) – and the differences between them are inherent and do not represent calculation errors.On the other hand, the National Commission of Prognosis has not concluded the new GDP forecasts for 2012 and 2013, which will serve to drafting this year’s budget, after the INS revised downwards by RON 21 bln the GDP for 2011, CNP president Ion Ghizdeanu announced. He confirmed that, after the final data announced by INS, which indicate for 2011 a GDP smaller by RON 21 bln than estimated, significant changes will be made in the GDP calculated for 2012 and 2013.Following this uncertain situation, the president of INS, Vergil Voineagu was fired by PM Victor Ponta and his attributions will be temporarily taken over by the institution’s vice-president Beatrix Gered, until a new president is appointed. Gered Beatrix enjoys the support of UDMR.