The main commitments towards international creditors regarding the reorganisation of the tax administration, legislative changes and fighting tax evasion continue to be the priorities of the Minister of Public Finance and Deputy premier, Daniel Chitoiu.
Romania has fulfilled the priority actions agreed on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the letter of intent will go before the IMF Board in June and a review mission of the Fund will visit Romania in the second half of July, Finance Minister and Deputy Premier Daniel Chitoiu said in an interview Sunday. ‘We have fulfilled the priority actions agreed on with the IMF, with the exception of CFR Marfa, the deadline for which is June 21. (…) We are within the time-table agreed on with the international financial bodies – privatisation consultants, legal consultants have been selected and the processes are in progress so that we can complete them in the second half of the year’, Chitoiu said. And the minister continued: ‘We have no reasons of concern. If we sign a new agreement with the IMF we do it not because we anticipate any difficulties in the future, but as a safeguard that the economic reforms, especially structural ones, are carried on and are consistent’.
The minister of finance is also optimistic about the arrear target. ‘At the end of last year we had a stock of arrears worth RON 840 M. We have promised to the IMF to reduce the stock of arrears this year, before the letter goes before the Board, to RON 300 M. In the first three months of 2013, the stock of arrears went up because there were unpaid debts with 30-60 days of delay which grew to 90 days, so they turned into arrears. The stock went up to RON 1.15 bn in January, then to RON 1.23-1.24 bn in February. We set a maximum of RON 800 M loans to local authorities to be used for paying arrears. (…) We hope that, by mid-June, when we are supposed to do the last reporting to the IMF, the stock of arrears is around the target set with the IMF. Our objective was to pay up all those arrears in order to unblock the economy and financial flows’, the minister of finance further noted.
As a matter of fact, the budget execution is also going according to schedule. ‘Economic indicators look promising this year. We considered a pessimistically estimated economic growth of 1.6 per cent, but we will exceed this and go towards 2 per cent. I believe agricultural production will also have a positive role in the economic growth’, Chitoiu says. In what regards the budget review, it will happen in the second half of July, with increase of revenue and redistribution of funds for investment. Minister Chitoiu says the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education will receive more money.
One of the priorities of Minister Chitoiu’s term is the restructuring of the National Agency for Tax Administration (ANAF), with the purpose of improving the collection of revenue for the state and curbing tax evasion in Romania. ‘We are interested in having a partnership between the tax-payer and the fiscal administration, we must dismantle the idea that the administration is the master and the tax -payer someone who has to comply with the decisions sometimes abusively made by it’, Chitoiu says.
According to him, the new structure will have between 1,500 and 2,000 employees at a national and regional level. ‘Our agreement with the IMF and WB says that we must only have one tax administration in a country on January 1, 2015’, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government further said. In what regards the population of the new Anti-Fraud Directorate, it will begin on July 1, 2013. Until those objectives are finalised, tax evasion remains quite high, pending from 4-5 to 8-9 per cent of the GDP, according to Minister Chitoiu, who hopes the revenue will grow by at least 0.5-1 per cent of the GDP per year from reducing evasion.