POLITICS

Salaries and pensions might increase starting April next year

The decision was made by the ruling coalition and will be included in 2012 draft budget.

Salaries in the public sector, and pensions might be increased during May-June 2012, the ruling coalition decided yesterday, thus accepting a proposal made by UDMR.

The decision will be made after the evaluation visit of an IMF delegation next spring, unless a “big skidding” is registered in Europe and Romania, in terms of economic growth. The leader of UDMR senators, Fekete Andras Levente said that the possibility of increasing salaries and pensions in H1 next year will be specifically included in the draft budget for 2012 and in the letter of intent to the IMF.

“This possibility will be specifically mentioned by the state budget, because if it is not mentioned by the state budget, there is a problem,” he said, quoted by Mediafax. The idea was also discussed with the International Monetary Fund, Fekete added. “We insisted and the coalition decided it,” the leader of the UDMR group in the Senate explained. However, the coalition rejected as impossible the idea of operating the increases starting with the first month of next year, he added.

In his turn, PDL spokesman Sever Voinescu confirmed the possible increase of pensions and salaries, but only in an optimistic scenario. If things get worse, salaries will remain “untouched” as the government is willing to access the money from the precautionary agreement. “If things go for the better in the first months of the year, and we are in the situation when markets calm down and economy advances well, there is a real possibility to increase expenses, respectively salaries and pensions, to be more specific, but only if the economic situation allows us to stay under 3 pc at the end of the year,” Voinescu said. The government signed precautionary agreements with the IMF and “there are sums of money it may access if needed.”

“We discussed it in the coalition, and at government level, if economic figures will allow us to raise salaries and pensions, if we will have a sustainable economic growth, we may also take this into account in the second quarter, i.e. April, May, June,” Labour Minister Sulfina Barbu confirmed. However, for H1 next year, the budget will certainly have a deficit of 1.9 pc, without taking into account any salary or pension increase, she added.

In his turn, the head of the IMF mission, Jeffrey Franks confirmed that the agreement with the government provides for raising salaries and pensions if budget incomes allow it, but the increase will be “limited.”

According to PDL spokesman Sever Voinescu, the draft budget for 2012 is due to reach the Parliament around November 15. The draft budget is conceived with an economic growth of at least 1.75 pc and there is the more optimistic prediction of 2.25 pc, he added. Yesterday, PM Boc met the ruling coalition representatives in the Budget Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, to discuss the draft budget law. The Power wants to pass the budget in the Parliament by the end of December.

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