The Government organises this Wednesday a public debate at the Victoria Palace on the budget draft law on 2016, a release of the Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue (MCPDC) posted on the government’s site, informs on Monday.
The debate scheduled between 14:00 and 16:00, focuses on the structure and priorities of the budget bill on 2016.
‘In parallel with the presentation by Public Finance Minister Anca Dragu of the general structure of the next year’s budget, the organisers have invited three members of the Cabinet to join the debate: the Transport Minister, Dan Costescu, the European Funds Minister, Aura Raducu, and the Agriculture Minister, Achim Irimescu, as it is for the first time when the members of the government have a dialogue with the citizens in this format. The pick of the ministers invited was made in accordance with the thematic of the messages received by the ministries regarding the priorities of the budget 2016,’ the MCPDC release says.
‘Depending on the interest in the event, the organisers consider a live broadcast of the debate via Internet, so that we can offer the possibility to as many interested groups, in particular from outside Bucharest and even from abroad, to participate in this important national topic,’ the representatives of the MCPDC say.
Romania’s 2016 national budget has been predicated on receipts of 231.12 billion lei, up 1.6 percent from 2015 and outlays of 252 billion lei, up 6.8 percent from 2015 and an estimated deficit of 2.95 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Finance Minister Anca Dragu told Agerpres.
As far as the outlays are concerned, most of them are for social security – 79.4 billion lei (31.5 percent of total), up from 75.85 billion lei in 2015 (32.1 percent of total). On the second place, there are staff outlays – 57.2 billion lei (22.7 percent of total) compared with 51.8 billion lei estimated for 2015 (21.9 percent of total). Investment spending is just 4th, after goods and services spending, and it is 37.7 billion lei (15 percent of total), up from 33.7 billion lei estimated to be spent for the same purposes in 2015 (14 percent of total).
Deputy PM Dincu: Gov’t seeks to meet Romania’s direct needs by draft budget
The new Government seeks, by the 2016 draft budget to meet Romania’s direct needs, also by covering “blank” investment areas by budget funds, Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dincu, also a Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration said at the end of a meeting with the senators of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) and the National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) on Monday.
“We also discussed about the minimum guaranteed income, we discussed about the fact that such an option has not disappeared at the Finance Ministry. This option was not included in the last budget either. An impact study is being conducted and, depending on its results, we will see what level the minimum guaranteed income will reach. /…/ In principle, there were no substantial modifications as regards the budget of Romania at this moment. It is a budget for the needs of Romania, one that the [previous] Social Democrat Government also considered. And, of course, although with some different priorities, with another conception, the new Government ultimately tries to do the same thing, /…/ i.e. to meet our direst needs”, Dincu said when asked if the Social Democrats had set certain issues such as the minimum wage in the economy as a condition for voting for the budget plan.
He added that the executive, on drawing up the 2016 draft budget also considered an analysis of the type of investments that are not covered financially.
“There are differences between the counties as regards the investments… and we will have to correct such things”, the regional development minister underscored.
PSD’s Dragnea: Budget, largely built on draft left by Ponta Government
PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea said on Monday that the draft budget of the Ciolos Government was largely built on the draft left by the Ponta Cabinet, adding that the social-democrats would submit only important amendments that do not necessarily affect financial sources.
Liviu Dragnea added that the only element missing from the draft budget of the Ponta Cabinet is the impact assessment study required by the finance minister for increasing minimum wage.
“The biggest impediment is the wrong communication that Finance Minister Anca Dragu had, because they said they needed an impact assessment study on the level to which to increase the minimum wage and the implementation timetable.
We disagree with the minimum wage in Romania not be increased under any circumstances, for several reasons. Firstly, the minimum wage is among the lowest in Europe, I believe it is the penultimate, if not the last. Secondly, we are talking here of Romanian citizens who have the right to lead a better life.
Maybe it is a good impact assessment study, but the Government should not think that we will agree with postponing indefinitely this decision, and they must present clearly that criteria this study will be based on, the period for completing this study in such a way that the decision is made in spring at the latest,” said Dragnea.
Daniel Constantin: ALDE doesn’t join into other parties’ harmony on 2016 State budget Law
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) does not join the other parties’ harmony on the 2016 State budget Law, Alliance Co-chairman Daniel Constantin said on Monday.
“Today we held a more extensive sitting of the ALDE leadership where we discussed several issues; the most topical subject now is the 2016 Budget Law. Lately I’ve seen a lot of public debate, I could say I’ve noticed harmony among the parties that backed the vesting of the Government and which further support the act of governing. ALDE is not part of this harmony, we have certain viewpoints on aspects that caused the citizens’ discontent and which we will debate in detail tomorrow at 16:00 hrs, when the sitting of the professional departments is scheduled, after which we will hold a press conference and present our views in a breakdown by ministries and departments,” Constantin told a press conference.
According to him, the macroeconomic indicators look well, it seems that Romania will further have economic growth in 2016. “We will succeed in fitting into a budget deficit that will not trigger the European excessive deficit procedure, so it will be less than 3 pct, but there are still many aspects that were modified and which, from our standpoint, will bring along slippages in the economic and social milieu,” Daniel Constantin underscored.
He mentioned the absence of a reaction from the part of the Social Democratic Party to the freezing of the minimum wage.
“As a right-wing party we are particularly interested in right-wing measures, which unfortunately are affected too in certain points. I’d like to give you just a few examples. In the first place investment allocations, of course it’s laudable that they grow from 4.7 pct to 5.1 of GDP. Yet from our standpoint this is just an illusion, as 4.7 percent is the execution for 2015; 5.1 percent is the target for 2016. I remind you that investment allocations in the 2015 budget were 6.3 pct of GDP. That this amount wasn’t accomplished is a different thing, but when you target less than in 2015, the 2016 execution will definitely be smaller than in 2015,” said Constantin.
With regard to agriculture, he mentioned that the budget for irrigations will be affected.
On the other hand, he said he was pleased to see that there is a slight increase for education. “It’s a growth against the 2015 execution forecast, we will see the hard-fact figures for the execution in March 2016, therefore by then we won’t know if we registered growth or not. The risk is in the pre-academic education sector where the budget is undersized and where we could see positions scrapped next year,” said the ALDE representative.
Daniel Constantin announced that ALDE representatives will be careful to the changes operated in the ministries. “We will carefully monitor each appointment and whenever we will sense a slippage we will make it public,” added the ALDE leader.
Gorghiu: PNL, satisfied with budgetary projections, in principle
Co-chair of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Alina Gorghiu on Monday said PNL is satisfied with the 2016 budgetary projections, adding that the Ciolos Cabinet needs support.
“We are satisfied with the budgetary projections, in principle. Had you followed my observations and the observations of [PNL co-chair] Mr Blaga, we have clearly stated that this is a transition government; we know it needs the support of a parliamentary majority, but we want to see the larger public investment projects. And from 33 to 37 billion lei it is indeed a rise,” Gorghiu told Realitatea TV private broadcaster.
She also said that, unfortunately, there is very few money collected for the national budget, insisting the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) should do its job better.
“Romania collects the fewest among the civilised countries. I believe we do not put the finger on the big vulnerabilities. I also believe that ANAF can and should do its job better. (…) We have a problem with the private sector, and here I am glad to see an increase. This was one of the conditions we demanded in exchange for backing the budget: increased investment, and public investment has indeed been increased by a certain percentage,” added Gorghiu.
She said “the major advantage of the Ciolos Cabinet, which cannot be compared with any other political government, is that it can assess administrative resources really and genuinely and it can professionalise the resources.”