According to the PM, investments and healthcare will be the main funding priorities
The government is working to complete the 2021 budget bill, bound to stay under a 7% of GDP budget deficit ceiling, as agreed with Brussels. Preparations have been stepped up lately, as the goal is for the document to be submitted to Parliament early next month, when the parliamentary session begins. But with major expenditure triggered by the pandemic, the distribution of the limited funds available is rather difficult.
The Liberal PM Florin Cîţu asked the members of his coalition government for a list of key projects for each ministry, so as to ensure efficient fund distribution, and says he hopes the talks with the main authorising officers will lead to a balanced budget, able to support economic growth. Investments and healthcare will certainly be the funding priorities, the PM said, and mentioned plans to amend the legislation on public sector salaries and pensions.
Florin Cîţu: “The pension law must be based on the principle of contributions, this will be the starting point. As for the salary law, the point is to ensure more efficiency in public administration, tying salaries to performance. Apart from a clear hierarchy, we must also introduce performance indicators tied to these incomes.”
Under the current legislation, the pension increase scheduled for this year entails a financial effort of roughly 1.6 billion euros, and a reform of the public pension system, as desired by the prime minister, takes time and will have no effect on this year’s budget.
Romania’s public budget is under huge pressure at present, because of the need to comply with the deficit target agreed on with the European Commission, says the leader of the USR PLUS party, deputy PM Dan Barna:
Dan Barna: “We will see how the final bill comes out and how we will meet the deficit target agreed on with the EC. And in this respect, we will also see the amendments, if any, submitted by our parliamentary groups.”
This year’s state budget must be balanced and must target development, investments and jobs, the president of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, deputy PM Kelemen Hunor said in his turn:
Kelemen Hunor: “We must be very, very efficient in spending the money for development, from the National Rural Development Programme, from the operational programmes, and from the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme, because the national budget will have less money available for investments than what citizens and local authorities would like.”
The Social Democrats in opposition have drafted an alternative budget, to prove that the country has enough money to provide massive support to the economy and to increase citizens’ incomes. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)