New changes to the fiscal code, National Bank increases monetary policy interest rate
National Bank – The National Bank of Romania had to increase twice the monetary policy interest rate due to accelerated inflation, with major impact on the economic environment, said Thursday the governor of the National Bank of Romania, Mugur Isarescu, at the meeting of the Senate’s economic committee. According to Isarescu Romania’s current account and budget deficits have reported higher increases than those in the other countries of the region and the pressure on the depreciation of the national currency was significant. Data issued by the National Institute of Statistics show that the annual inflation rate, which points to the evolution of consumption prices in the past year, increased in February to 4.72%, which is the highest level since June 2013. Recently the national bank increased for the 2nd time this year the monetary policy interest rate from 2 to 2.25% per year.
Fiscal code – The Romanian government on Thursday approved a number of changes to the Fiscal Code. They decided to reduce by 20% the income tax for microenterprises that sponsor NGOs providing social services. Also the share of the income tax that an individual wants to allot to NGOs was increased from 2 to 3.5%. Last but not least, microenterprises with a minimum social capital amounting to 10 thousand Euros and with at least 2 employees will be able to opt for paying income taxes and not turnover taxes, as has happened so far.
Protests – In Bucharest, the representatives of the healthcare trade unions on Thursday picketed the headquarters of the Labor Ministry after on Tuesday they had previously protested in front of the Health Ministry. They are asking, among other things, for pay rises as of March 1 for the whole medical and social assistance personnel, the cancellation of the measure capping benefits at 30% and the recuperation of income losses after the coming into force of the new salary regulations on January 1. During Thursday’s session, the government adopted measures regulating benefits in the medical sector. The law provides for various percentages of benefits for various categories of personnel, depending on specialization. For many years, given the under financing of the healthcare system, Romania has been faced with a massive exodus of physicians and nurses, who went abroad in search of better paid jobs.
Politics – The opposition National Liberal Party and the Save Romania Union have for a second time notified the Constitutional Court over the justice laws. The documents they submitted on Thursday mention 37 reasons of unconstitutionality of the draft laws regarding the statute of magistrates, the judicial organization and the functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy. Passed by Parliament in winter, the laws were sent back to Parliament recently to be corrected following a first decision by the Constitutional Court. The opposition criticizes the haste and superficiality with which the laws were corrected and continues to claim that, despite the changes made, the laws still open the way for abuses and question the independence of the judiciary. However, the ruling Social Democratic Party says that the changes were made in a democratic way. (news translated and updated by Lacramioara Simion)