PM Ponta no longer wants Government split between IMF backers and opponents. Crin Antonescu said that he has nothing against the International Monetary Fund, but the situation of being under its assistance is not ideal.
The Liberal Minister of Finance Daniel Chitoiu is the one who leads the talks with representatives of the international financial institutions on next year’s budget, said Prime Minister and PSD chairman Victor Ponta in the opening of yesterday’s Government session, arguing that he no longer wants the Executive to be divided ‘into the good guys’ who won’t strike a deal with the IMF and ‘the bad,” Agerpres reports.
Victor Ponta informed the representatives of the PSD National Standing Bureau about the talks on the budget. “We will make some decisions on the budget, obviously related to where we place our fiscal priorities next year, where we want to assign more money, where we can afford to do so and where we cannot,’ the Prime Minister said. According to him it is just normal that the Minister of Finance, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, leads these talks. ‘We have a Liberal Minister of Finance, I totally trust him and I’m sure he will present both his party colleagues and to us the best possible variant for the 2014 budget,’ the PSD chairman also said.
Ponta added that yesterday, at 5.00 PM, was scheduled an official end-visit meeting with the representatives of the IMF and that Daniel Chitoiu discussed with PNL leader Crin Antonescu about this meeting. “The data cannot change anymore. Maybe there is political support for concluding or rejecting the negotiations. There is no third variant,” Ponta said.
He added that this is about a political decision of PNL with regard to supporting the draft budget and closing the negotiations with the IMF, as the decision of PSD on this matter is clear.
In his turn, Deputy PM Liviu Dragnea mentioned yesterday that he does not know whom PNL president Crin Antonescu was addressing to, when he said that the accord with the IMF is “a handicap” for Romania, because the head of the negotiating team is precisely the liberal minister Daniel Chitoiu, deputy premier and minister of Finance. PDL denounced the “secrecy” of the talks carried by the government with the IMF and considers that the current accord with the Fund is beneficial, but was meant to avoid Romania’s payment default in 2015, while in 2009 Romania committed itself to implementing reforms and overcoming the crisis, deputy Gheorghe Ialomitianu said yesterday in a press conference called at the conclusion of the party’s Steering Board. “We wonder why Antonescu considers the accord with the Monetary Fund a handicap? We believe that Antonescu overlooked the accord with the IMF until the 2014 elections, in order to avoid troubles,” the former Finance minister said.
Shortly afterwards, Crin Antonescu came up yesterday with explanations, saying that he referred to some of his previous statements regarding the IMF and mentioning that “there are always people willing to trunkate.” “I did not criticise the IMF, I criticised how we discuss about development and economic perspective here, in Romania – politicians, journalists, power, opposition, presidents, ministers and Mr. Blaga. I have nothing against the IMF. I only said that we should be aware that the situation of being under IMF assistance is not ideal, it is not a good situation. If you are in such a situation, it is obvious that you have an ill economy,” Crin Antonescu explained. “No country with a healthy economy that works well is under an accord with the IMF. Does this mean that I attack the IMF? But this is why the IMF exists, to help, to protect Viagra Online the weak,” the liberal leader added. The president of PNL also mentioned that PM Victor Ponta is wrong when he makes statements about the government members who oppose the accord with the IMF, because the leader of PSD was misled by the “mystification” of his words, Mediafax reports.
Antonescu also emphasised the fact that a government cannot have its own economic policies as long as it has an agreement with the IMF. “As long as you are under an accord with the IMF, like we were and still are, you cannot have your own economic and budgetary policy. Then, the people of this country will be discontent and will say: the government does nothing to move the economy forward and there few things the government can do to move the economy. And it does them,” Antonescu said. He compared the IMF with going to the doctor, affirming that one can speak about success when Romania will no longer need an accord. “We cannot take the discourse of, let’s say, Mr. Stolojan, with all due respect, or of Mr. Boc, or of the acting opposition, or of Mr. Basescu: we achieved, we did not achieve, we complied with what the IMF told us and this is the big success. No, the economic success will be when we will be able on our own, paying our debt, to say <
IMF team meets Fiscal Council and Bucharest Stock Exchange reps
In a different move, the IMF mission led by Andrea Schaechter was due to meet on Monday representatives of the Fiscal Council and the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), sources close to the negotiations announced. The agenda of talks with Fiscal Council president Ionut Dumitru includes the budgetary execution of 2013, the fiscal-budgetary strategy 2014 – 2016, fiscal administration, the reform of the medical sector, state companies, measures for improving the process of attracting European funds. The IMF delegation, along with the envoys of the European Commission and World Bank, will discuss about the development of the capital market and the listing of state companies, as well as corporate governance and the unified regulation of non-banking financial markets.
Main indicators for 2014 agreed upon
The government and the IMF-EC mission agreed over the main indicators for 2014, but continue the talks about the impact of the fiscal measures necessary in view of covering the income gap resulting from the latest demands of the two member parties of the USL with impact on expenses, informed sources quoted by Mediafax. Next year’s budget was conceived starting from a GDP of RON 657 – 659 bln, with an economic growth of 2.1 pc (base scenario) and a deflator slightly above 2 pc. Depending on the size of the deficit accepted by the IMF, which is negotiated between 2.2-2.3 pc of the GDP and includes the investment clause pertinent to the co-financing of EU funds, economic growth might reach 2.2 pc of the GDP, added the sources. The inflation rate envisaged for next year stands around 2 pc. The IMF also discussed with Romanian authorities about several measures meant to compensate the deficit of incomes calculated for 2014, which exceeds RON 5 bln, resulting from the expenses planned by the state and the projection for this year. They include the increase of excise duties, which are now calculated at an exchange rate that impedes to budgetary incomes, and a tax on special constructions. Another discussed measure is an enlargement of the taxation basis that will include the contributions to social security, but no political commitment has been reached over this idea.