The budget amendment is positive and the fundamental constitutional rights are covered, including for 2016, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Tuesday at the beginning of the Government sitting.
“With all ministers present, who is displeased to speak now. If not, I understand that we will implement it. (…) Firstly, it is a positive amendment not just in budget-fiscal terms, but also for the ordinary people. We have more money and lower expenditures than estimated in the Budget Law approved by the Romania’s Parliament,” the PM explained.
All the money necessary in pre-university and university education is allocated under the amendment. “I want to assure all teachers: you have money in the budget, so you will be paid up to date with what you have won in court,” Ponta added.
According to the prime minister, “in the healthcare there are no cuts, but increases”; there was confusion because money was moved from one part to another, but in the end there was a plus of 478 million lei. Moreover, all the claims of the Emergency Situation Department in terms of salaries and expenditures are met.
The Ministry of Defence’s budget is supplemented by 150 million lei and 650 million lei as commitment appropriations.
The Interior Ministry sees an allocation of 500 million lei for the updated payment of all the employees of the ministry, such as policemen and firemen.
The Culture Ministry’s budget is supplemented and positions for the National Theatre are allocated.
The local administrations that lost money in the past will receive the respective amounts in the current budget amendment, namely 1.3 billion lei, including for local investments.
The Prime Minister said he does not use governmental power for ‘chicanery’ and the Presidential Administration will receive in the budget amendment the requested amount – 10 million lei: “They receive as much as they have requested, we have not cut a single leu. I do not use governmental power for chicanery. They need an additional 10 million lei for overseas travels and protocol – we have given them what they asked for. And I believe that the President of the country must travel, must have the necessary protocol money.”
Government cuts pension subsidies as it expects larger contributions
The budget amendment draft published by the Ministry of Public Finance includes nearly 890 million lei more in revenues of the public pensions system, although the subsidy for it from the state budget is slashed by 930 million lei.
The result is possible owing to the new macroeconomic forecasts and to the evolution of revenue from contribution to the social insurance, the document mentions.
On the other hand, the pensions expenditure of the social insurance budget drop by 40 million lei, as the average number of pensions paid over the first half of 2015 decreased from 143,200,000 (the figure considered upon the drafting of the 2015 Social Insurance Budget Law) to 142,200,000.
The unemployment benefits budget is amended down by 21.5 million lei, as the subsidy from the state budget is cut by 144.3 million lei, while current revenue are 122.8 million lei higher.
The unemployment benefits expenditure decreases by 68.7 million lei, as the average number of benefits paid is down to 131,900 in H1, from 141,500 in the initial 2015 budget.
Transport Ministry trails behind in spending budget and European funds
During today’s budget correction process the Government will not supplement the Transport Ministry’s budget since the institution has failed to prove that it can spend the money and disappoints from this point of view from one year to the next. This is the point of view of Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici.
According to the draft budget correction, the Transport Ministry will lose financing of RON 1 bln for European post-accession projects.
“I told them very clearly: there is no room for talks! I want to see for every project the up-to-date proof that you are spending this money by the end of October, when the second budget correction will take place! Otherwise we won’t earmark supplementary funds so as to not artificially hike the deficit. Because otherwise what does this mean? If I earmark them for Transport it means domains such as health, education, investment will be deprived because I have to give the money where they are in fact not spent,” Teodorovici said on Monday.
The official accuses his Transport colleagues of lack of professionalism.
He said that he would like for the Finance Ministry to coordinate all economic directorates of the other ministries since the latter’s civil servants misinform the credit coordinators then the ministers come asking for “oddities.”