IMF leaders discuss sixth assessment of Romanian economy on Friday

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) leaders on Friday, September 28, will discuss the sixth assessment of the agreement with Romania, signed following the mission carried out in Bucharest, in the period July 31 – August 14.

At the end of the mission, on August 14, IMF delegation head Erik de Vrijer showed that the approval of the assessment of the precautionary agreement by the financial institution board was conditioned by four previous actions, aimed at the arrear reduction, the increase of natural gas prices, the launching of the public auction for 15 percent of Transgaz shares and the privatization of Oltchim.

Concerning the arrear reduction, at the beginning of this month the Government has passed the first reading of a draft emergency ordinance according to which the authorizing officers registering arrears must reduce each month their stock by 5 percent, namely 3 percent, compared with the previous month. The draft law also provides the interdiction of engaging new expenses in case the outstanding payments are not cleared. The authorizing officers have the obligation to ensure in the budget exercise the clearance of the outstanding payments registered at the end of the previous year, as well as the overdue payments registered in the current year.

Referring to the auction for Transgaz, the head of the Office of State Ownership and Privatization in Industry (OPSPI), Remus Vulpescu, has recently showed that the secondary share sale offer of the company is very close to launching, but he cannot announce a certain date.

As concerns the privatization of Oltchim, at the end of last week Dan Diaconescu, Dan Diaconescu – People’s Party (PP-DD) Chairman and OTV owner, was declared contractor of the sealed-bid auction for the purchase of 54.8 percent of the share capital of the plant of Ramnicu-Valcea (southern Romania), for which he offered 203 million lei. The privatization contract, though, has not been signed yet and Dan Diaconescu’s lawyers maintain they are ready to further negotiate concerning the document and they have no rush in signing.

The only condition fulfilled is the one referring to the natural gas prices, which increased 5 percent for the household consumers and 10 percent for the industrial consumers, from September 15.

The agreement between Romania and the IMF began on March 31, 2011, and it is a precautionary-type, standing at 3.1 billion SDRs (3.6 billion euros), representing approximately 300 percent of the quota Romania has with the Fund.

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