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What the newspapers say: January 6, 2010

de A.C.
Miercuri, 6 ianuarie 2010, 7:35 English | Press Review

Most newspapers today read about the 2010 budget, which is on the table of the Parliament's specialized committees. We read that the Health ministry is trying to tax fast foods and with the 1 billion euro coming from such taxes, the ministry will invest in infrastructure and supplement health funds. Another paper explains the decision of the National Central Bank to decrease the monetary policy interest rate from 8% to 7.5%. Elsewhere in the news, the Presidency budget is about to increase by 23%.

reads that the government is introducing a tax on fast food in order to increase state revenues. Collected funds will be used to supplement funds to finance health programs and invest in the infrastructure.

Health minister Attila Cseke declared for the newspaper that the 1 billion euro coming from the tax on fast food will be spend on health related programs and the development of the health infrastructure. He added that talks on this issue with fast food producers, distributors might start next week.

Cseke declared that this is an alternative source of revenue for the ministry and the idea came from other European states like Germany, France where the system works. He added that at the level of the Union there are several policies that discourage the consumption of fast food. For now, the tax is just a plan and will be debated.

On the other hand, industry representatives cannot be convinced that the new tax will bring so much money to the budget. The fast food market makes up 2-2.5 billion euro according to the newspaper, on a calculus based on the data of various market surveys. The government will have to tax up to 50% to reach the estimated revenues if the market this year will not register decreases.

Gandul reads that the budget of the Presidency for 2010 is set at 40,688,000 lei compared to 33,074,000 lei in 2009. Personnel spending will increase by 11.4% compared to 2009 to 12,500,000 lei and spending for goods and services will double, with an increase of 49.7%.

Basic salaries will increase by 16% while merit salaries will be canceled  but other benefits will be maintained and even increased in sums. The record increase is registered to benefits for the work place, which increased by 117%.

Plus, the President will have more money for protocol and foreign trips and less for his internal ones.

Cotidianul quotes two economic journalists explaining the decision of the National Central Bank to decrease its monetary policy interest rate from 8% to 7.5%. This level was last reached two years ago and market players class this move as a surprise. Most analysts were expecting the Bank to maintain the interest rate or cut it to 7.75%.

The arguments of the Central Bank are that the disinflation process stagnated temporary and the perception of the foreign investors improved considering the improvements in the political system. The two journalists declared that until the budget will find equilibrium either by cutting taxes and increase revenues, or through foreign aid, any decision will have the state as sole beneficiary.

Economic journalist Serban Buscu said, nonetheless, that the decision is a sign of normality. He added that these decisions are solely aimed at helping the government to sustain a budget with too many revenues and too many spending.

Indirectly, Buscu said that the Central Bank has become the biggest financing institution of the state. On the other hand, Ionut Tudorica says that the decision will pressure banks to decrease interest rates.

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