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May 16, 2021

Debates on draft budget in Parliament plenum begins today

The bill was adopted yesterday by the Commissions on budget-finance, after 18 hours of discussions.

The budget-finance Commissions of Parliament managed to finalize Sunday morning the vote over the project of the state budget and the social insurance budget for 2010, which will be discussed today in the plenary session of Parliament. After a marathon-session of 18 hours, sometimes after hot discussions, the MPs from the Commissions on finance passed the state budget on 2010 with the approved amendments, the normative act totalling 26 votes “for” and 15 votes “against,” Mediafax informs. The debates advanced rapidly for most of the institutions, and their budgets were voted for in the variant proposed by the Government.

The budgets of the ministries of Economy, Tourism and Interior did not suffer modifications, the amendments proposed by minister Radu Berceanu for the Transport Ministry were adopted, while for the Ministry of Agriculture it was approved to supplement the initial budget of RON 9.3 bln by RON 2.1 bln. The Ministry of Justice will also benefit from RON 2,780 thousands to assure the outfit, the specific equipment and the food for the civil servants from the National Administration of Penitentiaries, according to an amendment approved by the Commissions.

The Commissions also adopted an amendment to the budget project through which they established that the Romanian Cultural Institute will benefit in 2010 from the same budget as in 2009, rejecting the proposal of the Executive to increase ICR’s budget by 42.92 per cent. The members of the parliamentary Commissions on budget-finance adopted also the budgets of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, in the variants approved by the two Chambers, and that of the Romanian TV Company (SRTV) of RON 185,070,000. Also through the amendments approved by Commissions, the minister of education Daniel Funeriu declared yesterday that the total budget for youth and sport will be RON 356 M in 2010, the budget of the national sports federations being supplemented by RON 20 M.

The only rejected budget was that of the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the 59 per cent rise vs. 2009 budget is too big, most of the MPs criticizing the unjustified rise of the sums allotted to personnel, social assistance and other expenditures.

PNL president Crin Antonescu declared that the Liberals will not vote for the state budget, which he called “a collection of party money boxes,” stressing that Boc Government’s budget is not a political instrument meant to put Romania in the position of fighting the crisis. “Obviously, this draft budget is exceeded by the shameful, callous promises made once again by Traian Basescu, PDL, Emil Boc in the electoral campaign,” the Liberal leader said.

The increase of the pension point turned down

The biggest problems arose over the social insurance budget in connection with which the vote was resumed in order to assent it positively, and it was adopted with 32 votes “for.” The social insurance budget was initially turned down on Saturday night by the senators and deputies from the Commission on budget, finance and banks, the discussions being resumed on Sunday morning and finalized positively. One of the reasons for which the members of the Commission disagreed is the increase of the pension point. The deputies and senators rejected the amendment of PSD-PC and PNL parliamentary groups to increase the pension point to RON 826.2, respectively 45 per cent of the average gross salary, but they introduced a new amendment on the list of those rejected – the indexation of the pension point subject to inflation since 2011, which has to be discussed in the plenum meeting of today. During the discussions, both the finance minister Sebastian Vladescu and the labour minister Mihai Seitan presented points of view in contradiction with those of the MPs regarding the increase of the pension point, arguing that such a measure would generate an inflationary spiral.

Elimination of minimum tax and 5 pc VAT for dwelling construction passed

The Commissions on budget-finance adopted among others also the elimination of the minimum tax, the levying of a lower VAT, namely 5 per cent for the construction of dwellings, and a 3 per cent tax on the revenues of the micro-companies. Public finance minister Sebastian Vladescu recalled during the debates from Commissions, that the Government has already proposed the elimination of the minimum tax. He estimated that certain amendments should not have been approved and others, which were rejected, would have supported the business circles if they were assented. Another approved measure refers to the elimination of the non-deductibility of VAT for cars. The state secretary in the Public Finance Ministry, Gheorghe Gherghina, declared that the elimination of the minimum tax will have a budgetary impact of RON one bln, the lower VAT quota for the construction of dwellings – RON 960 M, while the non-deductibility of car VAT of RON 500 M. One of the rejected amendments referred to a bonus of 5 per cent of the value of the owed obligations for the taxpayers who pay on term the taxes. The MPs cast 23 votes “for,” 9 “against” and 10 abstentions for a proposal of the Social-Democrat Sorin Bota regarding the elimination of the financial incentives for the business operators with majority state capital, although the representative of the Finance Ministry pointed out that there is a contradiction between the amendment and the amended article from the draft budget law.

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