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What the newspapers say: November 13, 2009

de C.B.     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 13 noiembrie 2009, 3:17 English | Press Review

The Romanian Government writes up figures to fool the IMF. Elsewhere in the news, the state plays poker with public funds: mayor Liviu Negoita backs a disastrous contract with the 'kings of the asphalt'. Last but not least, Romania ranks third in Europe in chart addressing abortions.

The Romanian Government writes up figures to fool the IMF, Gandul reads. The Finance Ministry state secretary Gheorghe Gherghina says the Government might discuss the state budget project for 2010 next week. The Parliament allows the dismissed Government to submit the project for next year's state budget. Therefore, the proposal could reach the Parliament after the first presidential elections round.

The temporary Cabinet Boc 2 included in the 2010 state budget project all targets imposed by the IMF, Gherghina says, "because this is the aim". Meanwhile, both the Finance minister Gheorghe Pogea and the Economy minister Adriean Videanu declared that the VAT and the unique income tax will not be raised in the year to follow. So where will the Government get the money to respect the IMF targets from?

According to the publication, sources close to discussions between the IMF and the Government say that the document considers "swollen" indexes for the chapter addressing the state budget incomes. This is a "trick" almost every Romanian Government used. The same sources claim that if this budget is voted, people will protest on the streets in spring time. "This is the way it has been done every year, this is what it will happen now because one can't otherwise reach to a 5.9% budget deficit in the next year, on paper", the sources explained.

Theoretically, the budget's incomes could be increased by raising the level of tax collection and through bringing to light the unobserved economy, which is estimated to one third of Romania's GDP. In 2009, the Government relied on incomes worth of 31% of the GDP, in contrast with 44%, the European mean. If Romania could reach the European standard, it would bring another 15.6 billion euros to the state budget, resulting in the state not having to borrow so much to cover the country's current needs.

The Finance minister recently declared openly that 10% of the state employees are to be sacked next year, i.e. 140,000 people. But Gherghina talks instead about 17,000 state roles that have remained vacant since January 2009 and will stay so for the year to come. The Romanian representative at the IMF Mihai Tanasescu avoids, in his turn, to call a number and settles to say that there is a dire need to restructure public spending and to attract economies that could be later used for infrastructure and the health department. The 2010 is based on a 0.5% increase against of an 8.5% economy drop for the year.

Poker with public funds: mayor Liviu Negoita backs a disastrous contract with the kings of asphalt, worth of 112 million euros, Cotidianul reads. According to the daily newspapers, the latter dubiously won a contract that will allow them to charge tax payers 80 lei for each square meter of the roads to be built. A major repair work would be 30% cheaper.

The project that Negoita tries to win in court is planned for Bucharest's third, where Negoita is mayor, and it involves SC Tehnologica Radion, one of the constant partners for the local works. The company won the auction for the project in April, but the auction has been contested in court by the competition, which pointed out to a series of vices and the trial is now reached the Court of Appeal.

A source told the publication that that the winners' offer might bring a series of aberrations prone to fraud the public funds. According to the source, each bidder offers a price for all the works that need to be done, but the winner knows which of these are not going to be put to practice. So they offer extremely low prices for these ones and exorbitant prices for the works that are sure to become reality.

Romania ranks third in Europe in a chart addressing abortions in the European Union, according to the latest statistics provided by the European statistics office Eurostat, Adevarul reads. In 2007, there have been 150,000 abortions in Romania. But the EU member with most pregnancy interruption cases is Great Britain - 219,336, followed by France. Great Britain also holds the fifth place in a world top concerning abortions, after Russia, the US, India and Japan. In the same Eurostat statistics, Romania is followed by Italy, with 126,562 abortions annually, and by Spain, with 112, 138 pregnancy interruptions.


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