BUSINESS

Hiked food vouchers and 5 pc VAT for agricultural produce

Employers’ proposed measures to prevent food crisis.

The Romanian Alliance of Employers’ Confederations (ACPR) proposes granting food vouchers to public sector employees, hiking the vouchers’ value from RON 9 to 12, as well as the reduction of VAT to 5 pc for agricultural produce, to prevent a food crisis from breaking out in the next two years, Dan Matei Agathon, the deputy chairman of ACPR, stated, yesterday, in a press conference, Mediafax reports.

“If we generalise the food voucher system and if we hike the value thereof we strike at the root of the underground economy. Food vouchers are used exclusively to purchase food products, namely, products to which a tax is applied. The measure will enforce the tax both on the products purchased and on those who use the vouchers,” Agathon argued. According to the latter, a reduction of the VAT on wheat alone could bring EUR 2 bln a year to the state budget, given that taxes are paid only for 20 pc of the production, while the remaining 80 pc are “given a ride” in cargo ships and brought back to the country at overvalued prices. Agathon further stated that the two proposals would be presented to the Cabinet, the moment the latter resumes the social dialogue.

From Agathon’s vantage point, the food crisis is already underway at a global level, given that all it takes is a poor year in the production of wheat in China for the price to be hiked by 91 pc. “We will be faced with a food crisis in Romania, because 70 pc of the products for consumption come from imports, we have 3.5 million hectares of farming land left untilled, subventions in this sector are all but gone and there is no unified strategy for the development of agriculture,” the deputy chairman of ACPR added. In his opinion, the statements of the Agriculture Minister, Valeriu Tabara, to the effect that Romania had the potential to feed 100 million people, are in vain unless policies for supporting the farming sector are adopted.

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