Prime Minister Ludovic Orban has stated on Friday that the liberalisation of the electricity and natural gas market won’t take place as of 1 January 2020, but there will be a transition period of 6-9 months.
He brought to mind on Friday that he has scheduled a meeting with representatives of the parties supporting the Government in Parliament in order to discuss the draft law repealing the “harmful” articles of Gov’t Emergency Ordinance (OUG) No.114 and amending others.
“In respect to articles of the OUG referring to the liberalisation of energy and natural gas market, our option is in favour of a period of transition, meaning we don’t get to liberalisation as of 1 January, a transition period of six-nine months, so that there will be a preparation of companies, from the ones in production to the ones in distribution and supply, also a preparation of the consumer. Moreover, in this period we aim, as it is also written in the Governing Programme, to adopt the normative act defining the vulnerable consumer and the support package for the vulnerable consumer, taking into account the liberalisation of the price in electricity and natural gas,” PM Orban stated at the General Assembly meeting of members of the Coalition for Romania’s Development, when asked whether prices in electricity and natural gas are to be liberalised starting 1 January.
He added that the market was liberalised until the issuance of OUG 114, which set a new maximal administrative price at which the producer can sell natural gas and electricity toward household consumer.
“The effect was disastrous for the economy. Currently, the energy and natural gas price is very high for producers and industrial consumers, which leads to the decrease of competitiveness of the Romanian companies on the European market,” the PM argued, according to Agerpres.
Prime Minister criticizes granting procedure for special conditions benefits as percentage of gross wage
Orban has criticized, on Friday, the fact that the special conditions benefits are granted as a percentage of the gross wage, explaining that the employee earning 4,000 RON and the one earning 12,000 RON are just as exposed to radiation and have the same need for medicines.
“This way in which all kinds of payments and handouts are invented. I looked at the salary structure in the public sector, leaving aside that I don’t know if in any other country a wage law is adopted having a growth graphic over four years. I am surprised they didn’t foresee an increase over 100 years, a millennium, let’s say. (…) Beside that, there are all sorts of benefits, of… I saw there’s a special conditions benefit, that is now allotted, probably antenna radiations, or where there’s microbes and so forth. 15 pct of the gross wage is granted. I was sitting and wondering, how do you allot a special conditions benefit as a percentage of the gross wage? Because if I earn 4,000 RON I am just as exposed to radiation as the person earning 12,000 RON. My needs, let’s say, are to take drugs that are the same that the person earning more than me has. How can I establish the special conditions benefit in relation to the gross wage?” Orban asked, at the General Assembly of the members of the Coalition for Romania’s Development.
In his opinion, the public wage system has “a lot of very hard to fix ineptitudes”.
“We are in the situation in which the average wage in the public sector is higher than the average wage in the private sector, we are in the situation in which, disloyally, in fact, the Government through its regulations and through the way in which it pays wages in the public sector has ended up creating competition for the private business environment. They are public entities, whether we live in Bucharest, where state companies were created paying employees 30 to 35 pct more than employees on similar activities are paid [in the private sector – e.n.], whereas most companies do nothing. They are simply watching paint dry and are getting their wages for nothing,” the Prime Minister claimed.
He stated that, little by little, these things must change, so that normality returns.
“I said yesterday in Parliament – stop coming with projects that affect the budget, that create additional costs or reduce income, because we’re walking a tightrope. This is the truth. We have avoided making a sudden adjustment and this given the conditions in which we have to pay the increase by 25 pct of the wages in the public sector from January 1, we have to pay the increase in pensions from September 1, on the basis of the Pension Law, so a budget impact of 24 billion, which are additional costs that appear in the 2020 budget. The budget can’t take it anymore, it’s splitting at the seams. You can’t enforce measures that would inhibit economic development, the adjustment must be done gradually, through an optimization of expenses, an improvement of collection, but, especially, by supporting investments,” Orban said.
The Prime Minister asked the representatives of the business environment present at the event to pay all their taxes to the state next year, because this is very important for the budget.