Gov’t requests state companies to transfer to budget dividends not allocated to future projects

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The Government has requested that all state-owned companies transfer in advance the amounts in the form of dividends not allocated for future projects, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said on Tuesday.

Quizzed, at the end of the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Political Bureau (BPN), about the fact that the Energy Ministry had requested Romgaz and Conpet to transfer in advance to the state budget several hundred million lei in the form of dividends, the prime minister explained: “Dividends are definitely given to shareholders. So no one has robbed them, no one took them what they were not entitled to. We took them now because we needed them now. We want to start some very big projects. I gave you an example, Brasov – Ploiesti [the motorway section – ed.n]. It is carried out with national money and we have to prove that we have the money, at least to start it, for the World Bank to be a partner.”

Tudose pointed out that transferring into the budget of those amounts by the afore-mentioned state-owned companies does not represent a problem.

“No, it is not. If the dividends were given to the state in six months’ time or now, in my view, it is exactly the same thing. All the companies have been contacted and the needs until the end of the year or the first months of next year were taken into account. The same issue was risen in the case of all state-owned companies, and this solution has been found. Wherever the money was not disposed anyway, where there was no forecast that they would be needed, they were taken now,” the prime minister stated.

 

PM Tudose on Army’s endowment: MApN spent insignificant amounts in the first eight months on ongoing contracts

 

He  also stated on Tuesday that the National Defence Ministry (MApN) has spent, in the first eight months of this year, insignificant amounts for the Army’s endowment, based on ongoing contracts and in this period new contracts regarding the endowment are to be concluded.

“For the endowment, in what is considered to be endowment … I believe that you are referring to the procurements budget, including the effects, uniforms … but regarding what you are referring to, I don’t think I am allowed to say what was bought and how much was bought, anyway it was insignificant. There were ongoing contracts. There haven’t been any new contracts concluded. Now, in this period, new contracts are to be concluded (…) Allow me not to take into account the pieces of information which surface the press on how much the MApN has spent and on what,” the PM stated at the end of a meeting of the National Standing Bureau (BPN) of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) when asked about how much the MApN had spent in the first eight months of the year for the Army’s endowment.

 

PM Tudose on Pension Pillar II: People not to be consulted; the situation will be presented for a choice

 

Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said on Tuesday that if Pension Pillar II is to become optional, the people will not be consulted on this option but they will be able to opt.

“If it comes to that, there will not be a public consultation, but the situation will be presented and the people may opt,” said Mihai Tudose, asked at the end of a meeting of the National Standing Bureau of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) about how the Government will consult the population whether or not the Pension Pillar II to become optional.

Last week, Prime Minister Mihai Tudose announced that Pillar II would not be abolished, but that it may become optional, and Romanians will be presented with a comparative analysis to make the best decision regarding their pension. He said, however, that no decision was made in this regard, given that an analysis is currently being carried out.

“What the Ministry of Finance is working on now along with the Pension House, with the ASF [Financial Oversight Authority], is an analysis of Pillar I and Pillar II to see where and how the money of Romanians fares best. As a novelty, I think the solution is for us to tell the people where it is better for them to put their money, depending on the level of pay: Pillar I or Pillar II, all eggs on Pillar I or change nothing, but Pillar II becomes optional. It would be optional only if you want to switch from Pillar II to Pillar I, because there is no other way around. Nobody is abolishing Pillar II, nobody is nationalising it, no harm is done to it. We do not torture it, we do not skew it, but it will be optional,” said Tudose.

 

Tudose on fuel price hike: Not influenced by excise duty, because it is yet to come into force

 

Premier Mihai Tudose stated on Tuesday, at the Palace of Parliament, that the decision to introduce the excise duty on fuel was not the cause of the fuel price hikes because it is yet to come into force, and pointed out that in the following period he is scheduled to meet the representatives of oil companies, adding that he will take the appropriate measures if he notices that the prices were hiked pre-emptively.

“The price can’t go solely down, but this is certainly not the influence of the excise duty, because the excise duty is yet to come into force,” Mihai Tudose stated when asked about the fuel price hike.

He pointed out that he does not believe fuel prices rose “pre-emptively,” in expectation of the introduction of the excise duty, so as to diminish the shock on the market.

“We’ll have talks on September 15-16, in order to see exactly what the influence was. If [price of] the barrel has risen, we’ll have certain talks, if they had other expenditures, that’s a different talk, and if they hiked it artificially, I believe we’ll no longer have talks,” the Head of Government emphasised.

In his turn, PSD President Liviu Dragnea blamed the Ciolos Government for the present situation, stating that its decisions “cost seven billion.”

“Let’s not forget that when the Ciolos Government didn’t accept our plea to prorogue the elimination of the pole tax, the excise duty and the VAT, with us stating clearly in the elections campaign that we want to prorogue them for another year, and this cost us seven billion, the deceitful arguments used back then were: energy prices will drop too, because the pole tax is felt at the pump too. So, these big companies did not pay seven billion, but the Romanians didn’t feel anything. We said as early as back then that the prices won’t drop and it’s good not to forget this, because that’s why I no longer have a lot of confidence in the arguments and causes or reasons for which fuel prices fall or rise,” Dragnea stated.