Government Okays supplying low-cost food to pensioners

Energy companies will lay off 1,300 employees.

The government approved yesterday a draft act that sets up a “solidarity basket” in support of pensioners. Under the new regulation, retirees will be provided each month, “at the lowest possible price,” a package containing basic food products like wheat and maize flour, sugar, oil and rice, Mediafax reports.

“In economic terms, the programme implies no effort of the state budget; no subsidy or financial support will be granted and there will be no negative impact upon VAT incomes. It is just an additional logistic effort that will be made by the institutions of the public local and central administration,” reads the memorandum approved by the government in view of enforcing this programme.

According to the source, the programme will be initiated by the government and implemented by public local administration, under the supervision of prefects. The authorities of local public administration may participate in the programme, given the interest for socially supporting retirees, so “it is presumed they will collaborate,” reads the document. In view of a good public communication, the programme might run under its own logo.

In order to identify “the regulatory solutions” needed by the programme, the government decided to set up a task group of state secretaries and experts from the ministries of Administration and Interior, Finance, Agriculture, Health, the National Administration of State Reserves, and the Competition Council, which has 21 days to come with effective solutions.

Romanian media yesterday linked the scheme to 2012 being an electoral year, when both local and general elections will be held, and said the move aims at gathering support for PM Boc and his party, PDL.

A similar programme was conducted by the Nastase cabinet, via ‘Economat’ stores.

The programme was launched in 2001, jointly with a group of food producers and providers, and it allowed retirees to buy each month a package of products, at prices reduced by 30 pc: two liters of oil, two bags of sugar, two bags of rice, and other products like wheat and maize flour, semolina, pasta and margarine. Mediafax quoted Traian Basescu as saying in 2002, while being PD leader and mayor of Bu­charest, that ‘the Economat stores are just a story. You cross the street and find cheaper merchandise.’

CNH, Termoelectrica and Electrocentrale Deva – targets of layoffs

Also yesterday, the government decided to initiate this year the layoff procedures in the case of 1,300 employees from three energy companies controlled by the Ministry of Economy. The employees to be made redundant will receive unemployment benefits and completion incomes until 2014. According to the government’s list, the National Pit-coal Company (CNH) will lay off 900 people, Termoelectrica 300 and Electrocentrale Deva 100. The amount of completion incomes will depend on seniority. This wave of layoffs will put a stress of RON 25 M upon the state budget and the social insurances’ budget, government estimates.

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