The tax on registered agricultural machinery will be eliminated through the changes that will be brought to the Fiscal Code in Parliament, Agriculture Minister Stelian Fuia stated yesterday, Mediafax informs. “There will be a Parliamentary debate on the Fiscal Code and there will be a change that will clarify this issue of taxing registered agricultural machinery. We will eliminate this tax,” Fuia stated. He added that it is not normal for the tax that a farmer pays for a combine harvester to be similar to the tax paid for a BMW X5 or a limousine. In mid-March Fuia announced that the Agriculture Ministry does not agree with taxing agricultural machineries as if they were transport vehicles and that he is discussing the issue with Finance Ministry representatives. Over 300 farmers protested in Nadlac at that time against hiking the taxes on agricultural machinery, organizing a march in which approximately 70 tractors took part. The protesters stated that taking agricultural machinery out from the light vehicles category and including them in the category of heavy transport vehicles would hike the taxes more than tenfold this year. Fuia also stated that a large part of the milk sold in stores is not natural, being produced out of powdered milk, “the authorities being probably to blame.” The Minister made the statements at the inauguration of the headquarters of the National Research and Development Institute for Natural Bioresources in Bucharest.
“Nobody leaves the country with land in a bag”
Fuia claims that liberalizing the agricultural land market will not create an inflow of foreign investors, adevarul.ro informs. After he changed his mind three times in a single week, Stelian Fuia stated he will do anything possible to prevent foreigners from buying agricultural land in Romania after the agricultural land market is liberalized in 2014. The Minister claims that at present there is no statistic on agricultural land controlled by foreigners. “Nobody is keeping a tally on plots of agricultural land owned by companies, because they can have foreign capital ranging from 10 per cent to 99 per cent. It’s impossible to come up with such a statistic in order to see exactly who is behind these hundreds of thousands of companies we have in Romania and that potentially bought agricultural land,” Fuia stated. He opined that all foreigners came with know-how and that they have good results in Romania. “Plots of agricultural land have been bought in the last seven years. It’s nothing new. The crisis affects everyone. Each country negotiated its accession treaty in a certain way. We agreed to open the market to physical persons. But the market has been open to foreigners for years. There is no difference whether a plot of agricultural land is bought by a natural persons or legal entities. Nobody is leaving with it in a bag. Plots of agricultural land have been bought before too. Feigning ignorance would only mean lying to ourselves,” Fuia stated. He added that Romanians should not expect an inflow of foreign investors once the market is liberalized. Fuia added that one can feel the need for a farmers’ bank, a Romanian bank that would understand local development priorities. “Although today in Romania there are Romanian banks by law, they are the branches of foreign bank, branches that apply the corporate policy of the parent banks. These banks have grown arrogant and look down on farmers just like the boyars used to look down on peasants: they claim they are untrustworthy, risky, not worth it. Today Romanian farmers are down on their knees in front of the banking system,” the Agriculture Minister stated. In what concerns tax evasion, Fuia pointed out that he will try to obtain an extension of the reverse taxation of cereals and of vegetables and fruits. “Statistically speaking, a Romanian consumes 23-24 kilograms of bread per year. A German consumes 127 kilograms. In reality, we consume more than the Germans, which means that taxes are dodged in the case of at least 100 kilograms of bread per Romanian. Which means that taxes are dodged in the case of at least two million tons of bread at national level,” the Minister warned. He believes that the Finance Ministry, not the Agriculture Ministry, has the leverage to stop tax evasion and that a more intense activity would lead to a lower level of tax evasion.