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The message sent by the government is that Romania wants to finalise in good conditions the present accord. However, the representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises support the idea of reaching a new agreement. The premier also hopes to obtain an extension by 3-5 months of the deadlines provided by the accord with the IMF, on structural reforms.
The budget for 2013, privatisations, the level of arrears, private managers to state-owned companies and the methods of reaching economic growth in a year that does not look very good for the euro zone will be the sensitive topics on the agenda of the IMF evaluating mission that arrived yesterday in Bucharest, HotNews.ro reports.Premier Victor Ponta said Monday evening that Romania fulfilled its obligations assumed in the accord with the IMF with regard to the budget, adding that there are delays in structural reforms and he hopes to obtain a 3-5 months extension of the deadlines, Mediafax reports. “We should keep in mind that 2012 was a year with three governments, with three tense electoral moments and, if I may say so, we have a justification for the fact that it may take us until June, or September at latest, to do what we should have done until March,” Ponta mentioned. He explained that pushing back deadlines does not mean a tough negotiation and is only an option for Romania to say that it still needs time to fulfill its obligations. “It is out of question to reach a new accord before ending this one, which is normal and logical,” the premier added.On the other hand, the representatives of small and medium-sized companies support the idea of reaching a new agreement with the IMF, because this would bring more credibility for Romania, but appreciate that the document must give more flexibility to Romanian authorities, so investments may be resumed. “We believe that it is good to reach a new accord, because it gives more credibility and stability for investors,” the president of the National Council for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CNIPMMR), Ovidiu Nicolescu said yesterday in a press conference.
Nicolescu added that next week, the representatives of employers’ organisations will meet the delegation of international financial institutions and will present a series of measures necessary for restarting investments. “Securing a stable and predictable framework for the business environment, we demand few changes, with two exceptions: reducing the bureaucracy and taxation. We demand the adoption of legislation for SMEs that will take into consideration all our proposals, and increasing the sums allotted to the SME sector. The budget stipulates that 0.4 pc of the GDP will be allocated to SMEs, but last year this sector only received 0.005 pc of the GDP. I presented a report which finds that allocating EUR 100 M to the programmes for SMEs would result in the creation of 100,000 jobs,” Nicolescu explained.Entrepreneurs also support the restarting of the investment process, which is essential if Romania wants to have a real economic growth, so he proposed the diversification of the products offered by the National Guarantee Fund for SMEs (FNGCIMM), considering that the institution has the capacity to guarantee loans worth EUR 2.4-2.5 bln during the next two years.Improving the access of SMEs to public tenders, along with improving the provisions that concern budgetary debts to companies are other proposals made by the Council. The proposals were also presented to the delegate minister for SMEs, Tourism and Business Environment, Maria Grapini and the sides agreed to achieve large-scale projects aimed at improving the absorption of European funds.
Entrepreneurs: Minimum salary should increase to RON 800
The representatives of entrepreneurs support the increase of the minimum salary to RON 800, but warn that, since year 2000, salary increases have not been correlated with the labour productivity and resulted in inflation and lower competitiveness for companies. “One must take correlation measures between the two indicators, otherwise it will generate inflation and some companies will have problems to survive and export, because competitiveness will decrease,” Nicolescu added. He explained that the measure will negatively affect micro-companies, which will find it hard to sustain this increase, as they are the least competitive of the economy, as well as some sectors of the administration.Also related to the minimum salary in 2013, trade union confederations will have Monday a first meeting with representatives of the IMF delegation. Besides this topic, they will also talk about the budget, the president of ‘Cartel Alfa,’ Bogdan Hossu said yesterday. The leader of ‘Cartel Alfa’ added that all the trade union confederations were invited to attend the talks with the delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday, starting 6.00 PM. The meeting between the IMF delegation and the five trade union confederations will take place at the IMF head office.
Three meetings with IMF delegation on pensions and unitary payment system
Labour Ministry representatives will hold three working meetings with the IMF delegation, the sustainability of the pensions system, the unitary payment system and the modification of the Labour Code being the topics on the agenda, Labour Ministry spokesperson Iolanda Staniloiu stated yesterday. The first meeting that the representatives of the Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly Persons Ministry (MMFPSPV) will hold with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation is scheduled on Friday, at 2 PM. The ministry spokesperson added that the other meetings are scheduled on Monday, January 21 and on Wednesday, January 23, both at 4 PM.
The obligations regarding structural reforms, clarified at home
According to PM Ponta, the obligations assumed with regard to structural reforms must be clarified at home. “CFR Marfa, I gave you this example, where the president said that he no longer agrees selling, although the obligation had been assumed in February. I, certainly, if there is another solution for CFR Marfa … but we will not get scared now that Dan Diaconescu will come once again and spoil our privatisation,” Ponta added. The premier considers that the procedure can be better conceived, to avoid a situation in which others come and disturb the process.