The state budget bill will be pushed through Parliament through an exceptional procedure for the first time ever
On Monday the Government of Romania will seek Parliament’s confidence vote on the 2020 state budget. PM Ludovic Orban has announced that his Cabinet will take responsibility on the state budget bill, the social security budget bill and on a bill amending Government Order 114. MPs have until Monday to introduce amendments to the bills, and the PM said those amendments that will improve next year’s budgets will be accepted.
In turn, the Finance Minister Florin Citu says that both the budget for public healthcare and salaries in public education will be raised. The social security budget will also be higher next year, by around 23% compared to 2019. Pensions will also be increased, but, the Labour and Social Solidarity Minister Violeta Alexandru explained, minimum pensions will be kept at the same level next year:
Violeta Alexandru: “We have decided that, given the pressure on the 2020 public budget, minimum pensions should stay the same, namely at 704 lei. Minimum pensions are those paid to the people who have never contributed to the public pension system. The principle against which pension benefits will be calculated is, as you know, that pensions are based on the amount contributed to the system.”
The third bill that the Government wants rushed through Parliament scraps most provisions in the Government Order 114, and introduces fiscal measures based on which next year’s budget has been drafted. The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Ionel Danca says the Order 114 provisions concerning the energy sector will also be eliminated:
Ionel Danca: “The provisions regarding a 2% tax on the turnover of energy companies and caps on the natural gas and electricity prices have been repealed. Transitional measures have been introduced with respect to deregulating the natural gas and electricity market as of July 1 and December 31st, 2020, respectively.”
Caps have also been introduced as regards allowances for public offices, merit allowances as well as food allowances, public pensions and public salaries can no longer be received concurrently, and increments for difficult working conditions will be 25% of the whole-economy minimum wages.
The Social Democratic Party in opposition says the government taking responsibility before parliament for the state budget is a very bad idea. They threatened they would take the matter to the Constitutional Court if the parliamentary debates and vote are bypassed.
The state budget for 2020 is based on an estimated 4.1% economic growth rate, a 3.6% budget deficit and an estimated average inflation rate of over 3.1%.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)