Press review (Aug 5)

The Romanian dailies on Wednesday give main coverage to moves by the two-party ruling coalition to harmonise their viewpoints; the prospects facing the Romanian auto exports; the International Monetary Fund’s proposal that Romania delays the adoption of a single wage law for the public sector staff; and the costs incurred by building the Transylvania motorway that links central Romania to the western border checkpoint.

Electoral and financial reasons prevent the two ruling parties – Democrat Liberals (PD-L) and Social Democrats (PSD) – from splitting. The one to initiate the ‘divorce’ would suffer too high image costs for its presidential hopeful.
The two-party coalition hangs on, though it is a long time since it cannot be called a coalition.

The PD-L and PSD are unwilling to leave the seats of power, no matter how big their differences, no matter how many offences they bring each other and no matter how much humiliation they take, the Evenimentul zilei says.

The bankers have cut the interests to deposits, since their interest in attracting the money from the population has diminished. Since the beginning of the year, the deposit yields have dropped by 4 percentage points, as the National Bank of Romania (BNR) has left more liquidity in the market, the Jurnalul National reports.

The BNR decided on Tuesday to cut the key rate for the third time this year to 8.5 percent and the minimum compulsory reserves to forex liabilities to 30 percent.

The analysts explain the effects will be seen in diminished interests to deposits and to lending afterwards, the Bucharest-based papers report under such headlines as ‘BNR lets the money flow for FinMin Pogea’ (Ziua), ‘BNR gives one more chance to lending’ (Cotidianul), ‘BNR steps on the brake for cheaper lending’ (Romania libera).

The effect of the central bank’s decision is that the state will draw more money at lower interests, the Financiarul explains.

Commissioning of Ford auto plant in Craiova (southern Romania) and the export-oriented production at carmaker Dacia will raise the local auto industry’s share of the total Romanian exports to 30 percent after 2012 up from the current 18 percent, the Ziarul financiar reports.

The tax collection authority targets the wealthy Romanians. The National Agency for Tax Administration (ANAF) seeks enhanced powers so that it may be able to check the assets of the very wealthy and their spending, no matter if such wealth is backed by an economic activity or not, the Ziarul financiar announces.

‘We, as the Tax Administrator, must very clearly see the revenues made by a very wealthy person as well as how much he/she spends’, the daily quotes ANAF chairman Sorin Blejnar as saying. ‘The tax authority wants to verify the wealthy by their spending’, adds the Gandul.

A document of U.S. constructor company Bechtel obtained by the Evenimentul zilei shows the Romanian state pays for the construction materials at prices much higher than the market ones.

The Romanian state, by the National Company of Motorways and Highways, is paying for the construction materials used by Bechtel to build Transylvania motorway at much higher prices than the market ones.

This is one of the causes why the motorway now costs more than 5.6 billion euros; this compares to 2.4 billion euros as planned in 2004, the daily adds. Says the Romania libera in a headline: ‘Bechtel boasts 23 kilometres of asphalt in five years’.

The IMF delegation proposed the Romanian trade unions in talks on Tuesday to delay the adoption of the single pay law, so that the authorities may simulate the pay system they plan to introduce, the Curentul reports.

Leader of the National Trade Union Bloc Dumitru Costin argued that delaying the original Oct. 31 deadline set for the approval of the single wage law till after the presidential polls due later this autumn would mean that the law would be adopted ‘somewhere in 2010′ and the costs incurred by the law would rise.

Leader of Cartel Alfa trade union federation Bogdan Hossu stressed the IMF had called for a delay so that the authorities may carry out simulation of the law enactment and hold efficient dialogue with the social partners, the Curentul writes.

The politicians get the winning ticket: the Government is no longer forced to have the law on a single pay in the public sector ready by Oct. 31, the Evenimentul zilei writes.

The International Monetary Fund’s delegation, after having agreed with a larger deficit, now gives up another requirement set under the loan agreement signed with Romania, the daily comments.

’78 percent of the budget collections goes to salaries, interests and social assistance’, headlines the Financiarul, explaining that Government spent 15 billion euros in six months for the above-mentioned sectors.

The disagreements between the drug distributors and the Health Ministry over the hospital debts do not prevent the local pharmaceutical market to grow at a high pace every year, the Romania libera says.

Although Romanians take more and more medicines, they are increasingly ailing and their average life expectancy is one of Europe’s lowest, the Romania libera quotes European Union statistic figures as showing.

FC Vaslui won 3-1 on aggregate against Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus) in Europa League third qualifying round, second leg on Tuesday. The two sides ended in a draw, 1-1, the Romanian print media reports.

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