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What the newspapers say: May 3, 2010

de C.B.     HotNews.ro
Luni, 3 mai 2010, 2:40 English | Press Review

In Romania, patients need to bring medicine and equipment from home when hospitalised. Elsewhere in the news, Romania comes out of the recession, but not out of the crisis. Last but not least, foreigners lead a good life in Romania once they learn how it ticks.

In Romania, patients need to bring medicine and equipment from home when hospitalised, Gandul reads. Romanian PM Emil Boc asked each and every minister to present the "standard cost" per sector, namely the acquisitions prices in every ministry. According to the list of cost standards the publication obtained, a regional emergency hospital, counting 108,000 sqm and 786 hospitalization beds should cost exactly 151.6 million euros.

If hospitals had to survive on these funds, it would mean cutting down basic materials needed. 65% of the medical products that make it to Romanian hospitals come from China, Pakistan and Korea, according to suppliers. Medical staff asks patients to bring their own medicine, even anaesthetics, because of the difficult financial conditions hospitals are in.

President of the Medical Goods Suppliers Association (AFPM) Mihnea Ioan Grecu claims that hospitals try to buy cheaper and cheaper goods from one month to another. "For two years now, for a continuously smaller amount of money, hospitals are trying to buy the same quantity of goods", he said. According to him, the Asian countries from where Romania is importing, there isn't a quality control like in the EU or the US. There are contamination issues. Many goods come with false certificates.

The president of the institute checking the goods supplies, namely Lazar Iordache from the Technical Authority for Medical Devices (OTDM) told TV reporters that the body check goods when there is an incident. AFPM includes 36 companies, but the total number of suppliers is 350-400.

Low quality products may endanger the life of patients and hospitals must refuse these kinds of products. Health Ministry rep says that each hospital manager decides how much to spend for medicine, salaries and equipment. The Health Ministry says that sometimes a hospital spends 80% of its budget for salaries, while the managers have the right to impose quality standards, not just cost.

Hospital managers tend to disagree, motivating the very tight budgets they have to handle to survive. The manager from "St. Maria" says that in 2006 they discovered they bought infected spine needles, even if the minister's lab indicated they were safe. Many hospital managers accuse problems in dealing with suppliers which send a wrong, infected or expired product.

Romania comes out of the recession, but not out of the crisis, Adevarul reads. Economists say the population will feel the effects much later and 2010 is not going to bring a significant growth in GDP. The IMF is very likely to downgrade its prediction for Romania's economic growth this year and in 2011. The spring forecast read 0.8%, even if in December estimates were cheering for 1.3%.

But foreign funds supplies have now seen the evolution of the Romanian GDP in Q1 and are less optimistic. Economists forecast two consecutive quarters of economic growth, starting with Q3. BCR economist-chief Lucian Anghel, looks at the a negative GDP after the first quarter: he estimates a drop of 3 - 4.5% and an annual economic increase slightly above zero.

But Applied Economics Group (GEA) executive manager Liviu Voinea says Romania is going to conclude the year with negative figures because the cut in spending has been transferred to 2010. Technically, he sees Romania out of recession this year, but warns a new crisis waits around the corner. According to him, the moment of the current account deficit has been passed by creating a new crisis: public debt.

Data shows the current account deficit reduced from 12% of the GDP in 2008 to 5% in 2009. The public debt is not high in comparison with the European average, but it has doubled in the last two years and a half. Economists say Romania cannot support a level above 35% of the GDP. In February, figures indicated 28.7%. Voinea believes the industry and exports can increase the GDP, but they need help, like investments in infrastructure. Romania faces a transition year, with a very shy recovery.

Foreigners lead a good life in Romania once they learn how it ticks, Evenimentul Zilei reads. Ex-Marriott Hotel CEO Kurt Strohmayer leads a company which he crated last year and claims that despite the crisis, bureaucracy and infrastructure, Romania is still a heaven for investors. He's convinced he discovered a golden mine: consultancy for entrepreneurs that intend to invest in Romania's tourism.

He's got 30 years of experience in Romania and knows how business here works. This is, he says, the secret for success for foreign investors - the possibility to football with bureaucracy and to learn the system, so that its characteristics can be put to use. He's got both Romanian and foreign customers.

When he talks about tourism, he points out that there are no luxury resorts, spas or infrastructure at the mountainside and there is a lot of hard work waiting to be done. He believes that Romania's landscapes are not exploited properly, like the Black Sea and the Danube Delta. He seems to be convinced that the country could reach the level of Italy or Spain in ten years' time.

"The country’s got incredibly many resources. Gas, gold, oil, carbon, access to seaside, educated people. The renewable energy sector, for example, has been controlled by foreigners so far. But Romania's has got specialists as well. They are leaving the country, at the moment. But soon they will earn a reasonable living here as well, so that Romania will take control over the renewable energy market", the Austrian believes.


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