BUSINESS

PM Ponta: Arrear issue still not solved

The issue of arrears is still not solved, PM Victor Ponta said on Monday, however adding that it could be dealt with by the end of June, when the Board of the International Monetary Fund is set to meet, Mediafax informs. Asked if he was certain that the letter of intent would be discussed by the IMF Board and also adopted in good conditions, as indicated by Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Chitoiu, Ponta’s answer was: ‘No one has such guarantees’. ‘Chitoiu wants it, that quite normal, since he is the Minister of Finance’, the PM added. He also noted he was optimistic about the prior actions. ‘We have some prior actions to complete. I am optimistic about all of them, even if they are very difficult – CFR Marfa goes on, with difficulty, indeed, but it goes on. The same about the arrears. Meeting deficit targets – we have done that and keep doing it. It’s hard. I am optimistic,’ Ponta said. Finance Minister Daniel Chitoiu said last week he could guarantee the letter of intent for the agreement with the IMF would go before the Board of the financial institution and the agreement between Romania and the IMF would be concluded ‘in good conditions’. The Government has recently decided to raise, as a measure of urgency, the limit of loans local authorities may take for paying existing arrears to RON 800 M, going back to the initial threshold but subsequently reduced, when it tried to impose local order in the spending of money collected as VAT and tax.  The payment of arrears by local authorities is one of the main commitments Romania has constantly made in its negotiations with the IMF, but never fulfilled. The existing agreement with the IMF expires this summer, but Romanian authorities want to sign a new financial arrangement.

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