Budget cuts for Education, Culture, Justice and Agriculture. The draft for 2012 displeases some Ministries and Parliament again because it features lower funds than those earmarked for this year.

According to the draft, quoted by Mediafax, the government will cut the funds of half of the Ministries and of Parliament in 2012, but will hike the budgets of the Presidential Administration and of the intelligence services. Thus, the Presidency will go from a budget of RON 28.8 M this year to RON 29.5 M, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) from RON 971.4 M to RON 986.9 M, the External Intelligence Service (SIE) from RON 187.5 M to RON 193.9 M, the Protection and Guard Service (SPP) from RON 129 M to RON 132.3 M.

Budget hikes are also included for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Finance Ministry, National De­fence Ministry, Environment Mi­nistry, Transport Ministry, Health Ministry, Commu­nications Mi­nistry, Public Mi­nistry, as well as the High Court, Constitutional Court, Superior Magistracy Council and National Integrity Agency. On the other hand, the draft includes budget cuts for the Senate, Lower Chamber, Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, Justice Ministry, Administration and Internal Affairs Ministry, Labour Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Education Ministry and the Culture Ministry.

Premier Emil Boc’s adviser Andreea Paul Vass explained for that some institutions will need more money next year in order to tap non-reimbursable European funds, others in order to hire civil servants (the Court of Accounts and the Competition Council for example) and others in order to be able to organize festive events (Constitutional Court) or to buy local headquarters. At the opposite end are the institutions whose budgets will be cut because of layoffs (Internal Affairs Ministry) or because of a reduction in the sums needed for some programmes (Regional Develop­ment Ministry). “The funds (for the Presidential Administration – editor’s note) are hiked from RON 28.8 M to RON 29.6 M for medals and for the Cotroceni Museum,” Vass explained.

2012 budget based on 13.5 pc hike in revenues

The 2012 budget is based on an estimated deficit of RON 17.1 bln, revenues being expected to grow by 13.5 per cent from the RON 84.26 bln forecast for this year to RON 95.65 bln. Total expenditures are expected to total RON 112.8 bln, similar to this year’s level. When it comes to revenues, a EUR 4 bln influence may come from the fact that the GDP is expected to grow from RON 548 bln to RON 575 bln. The government stakes on a RON 3 bln hike in VAT revenues, from RON 46.8 bln to RON 49.65 bln. At the same time, excise revenues are expected to grow by RON 1.2 bln, from RON 18.7 bln to RON 19.9 bln. Expenditures on personnel will remain almost unchanged, totaling RON 16.38 bln. The sums earmarked for co-financing projects that use EU funds total RON 12 bln, being 50 per cent higher than in 2011. The government also wants to lower the state-owned companies’ arrears by RON 5-6 bln and is earmarking 6.5 per cent of GDP for investments, slightly above this year’s level.

Official sources quoted by the same press agency state that by the end of this month the government will operate a negative budget rectification for this year, cutting the sums earmarked for most institutions, the Health Ministry being among the few that will receive money for the payment of arrears.

Chorus of the disgruntled

The MPs top the list of the disgruntled. The government plans to cut the Senate’s funds from RON 90.7 M to RON 85.3 M. The move sparked reactions from both the Opposition and ruling coalition Senators. The Senators complain that they are discriminated against when compared to the Lower Chamber and “tricked” by the Finance Ministry. Since on October 3 the Senators voted, with an overwhelming majority, their own budget estimated at approximately RON 107 M, they hope to reach an agreement with the Finance Ministry in order to obtain a budget that would be closer to the one they envisioned.

Culture Minister Kelemen Hunor pointed out that if the budget earmarked for his Ministry remains unchanged the funds earmarked for infrastructure investments and for patrimony will have to be cut and large projects such as restoration works on Bucharest’s National Opera will be at risk. “Falling below the line, we could shut down the Ministry or transfer its prerogatives to the Finance Ministry if someone believes that would be better,” Kelemen stated.

Although his Ministry’s budget is set to grow from RON 5 bln to RON 5.1 bln, Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea stated that he would have wanted more money, namely 2.38 per cent of GDP. “The Romanian soldiers are doing their duty both within the country but especially abroad, despite having young children and day-to-day problems, and represent Romania’s best image in the world today,” Oprea stated.

Meeting at Lac Villa

PDL’s Board of Directors was set to meet yesterday at Lac Villa 1, party sources pointing out that the talks were about to centre on the draft of next year’s budget and other legislative priorities. PM Boc allegedly told the Democrat-Liberal MPs last week that the territorial reorganization and the amendment of the Constitution issues should be given a secondary importance, the current priorities being adopting the budget and merging elections.

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