The establishment of a ‘bank of the poor' and the adjustment of pensions to price hikes are two of the requests in a petition to be filed with the government on Friday, George Bogdan, president of the National Anti-poverty Alliance Romania 2008, told Rompres.
The document asks central and local administration offices to reach measures to improve the living standard of the elderly and also take steps for the development of poorer regions. The Alliance asks the government and local administration offices to speed up the implementation of the National Rural Development Plan, arguing that 22 pct of the rural population is affected by poverty, as to 7 pct in urban areas.
'We ask that a ‘bank of the poor' be set up in Romania, that should take over Grameen Bank's lending arrangements, to support the emergence of small entrepreneurs among poor social categories, in regions with a high poverty rate, among the Roma, youth and low-income women,' reads the anti-poverty petition.
The initiators also suggest the establishment by EIB of a guarantee fund for the support of national credit and micro-credit programs addressing the poor.
'The Anti-poverty Alliance also advocates the need to establish a guarantee fund for the co-participation of the poor in EU-financed projects. Only few Romanian citizens can afford the co-participation quota of 25-50 pct required for accessing structural funds,' reads the document.
The signatories of the petition also want the promotion of investments in concrete projects accompanied by the establishment of over 500,000 jobs in rural areas and small towns in the interval 2008 – 2012. They also ask that a special program be initiated for the encouragement of the establishment of at least 20,000 SMEs and micro-enterprises in the rural areas and small towns in the coming five years. The Anti-poverty Alliance also requests the approval of a set of measures aimed at encouraging and supporting families with many children.
The members of the National Anti-poverty Alliance warn the government and political parties of 'the decline in the population's living standard and purchasing power due to successive price hikes for energy, gas, fuels, food and services. They also say that some four million Romanians live on less than one dollar a day and 30 pct of the total number of employees have pays below 700 lei.
The petition is signed by seven foundations and trade union federations, as well as by the Socialist Alliance Party.