The Romanian Television Society (SRTv) had in 2013 a profit of approximately RON 2.5 M, but the outstanding debts of the institution amount to RON 800 M, the interim general director of the institution, Stelian Tanase announced Wednesday in a press conference.
According to Stelian Tanase, for 2013 the Romanian Television posted incomes of approximately RON 544 M and expenses of about RON 541 M. TVR thus ended last year with a net profit of some RON 2.5 M. “In 2013 we see a start of recovery. We had a profit of RON 2.5 M, but compared to cumulated losses, this means nothing,” Stelian Tanase said. In order to recover, the public television needs several uneventful years, he added.
“We cannot make miracles. It is a historic situation, whoever might have come would have been confronted by it, inevitably,” Stelian Tanase mentioned.
Tanase announced that he requested a fiscal amnesty “at the highest levels,” because TVR has debts to the state budget worth RON 543.7 M (EUR 122 M).
“We requested at the highest levels to be pardoned from repaying it. This can be done only once,” Stelian Tanase mentioned, adding that the move requires approval from the European Commission.
“We spoke about debt pardon even at the Ministry of Finance, on several occasions. An indebted television is on its knees and an independent television is a television that stands on its own resources. We are fighting the ghosts of the past. I make efforts to pay the debts made by others over a long time,” Stelian Tanase stated. He added that only a third of these debts are a consequence of how the public television was managed. “The remainder belongs to the government, to politicians who made bad decisions to the detriment of the television,” Stelian Tanase explained. “Nobody takes the money home here, they go into a huge loss-making machine which means old structures, excess personnel, we have equipment that is 40 years old, use much energy, and pay bills which private televisions do not pay. All these things made the debt soar.”
The public television underwent a restructuring process last year and lost 619 of its 3,149 employees. Following the restructuring, TVR is involved in about 300 lawsuits filed by former employees, 15 pc of which it already lost in the first trial. “We appealed against all these verdicts, we do not have definitive sentences,” Stelian Tanase explained.
The restructuring was enacted by the former Administration Board of TVR, headed by former president and general director Claudiu Saftoiu.
Stelian Tanase, who was appointed as interim general director of TVR on 20 December 2013, said that he does not envisage other layoffs from the Romanian Television.