FinMin Pogea: Spending with both Tourism Ministry programs legally grounded

The inclusion of the spending with the Annual tourism product development Program and the Annual marketing and promotion Program run by the Ministry of Tourism (MT) in the institution’s budget is legally grounded, Public Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea on Thursday declared in a press statement.

Pogea explained that, for all credit release authorities, the legal ground is given by the industry-specific normative documents and in the case of the MT budget, such spending is not regulated by the budget entry category, but by Government’s Ordinance No. 8/1988 on the establishment of the special fund for the promotion and development of tourism (amended under the Government’s Ordinance No. 32/2001).

According to Ordinance No. 8/1998, the two programs are being worked out by MT and are approved by the government, which is actually the way things have been done under Government Resolution No. 314/2009, showed the MFP head, adding that the annex to Law No. 18/2009 on the State budget includes the MT budget too, so that spending with the two tourism promotion programs were implicitly approved under the said law.

As for the MFP official document that agitated on Wednesday the members of the committee inquiring into MT spending (the Udrea Committee), Pogea said that an expert MFP department had prepared it after a previous document of Aug. 14, put together at the request of inquiry committee chairman Ludovic Orban, had been misinterpreted in mass media.

The second version of the document was not issued at the committee’s request.

Pogea said that the second document the MFP referred to the committee does not change the content of its predecessor, but only comes up with further clarification to debunk media allegations that MT spending with the two programs was legally ungrounded.

The Finance Minister said that it’s MFP’s obligation to see that the public is correctly informed and make such clarifications whenever its methodologies are misinterpreted.

Pogea is unhappy not only with the undue interpretation of the first MFP official document that was generated at the request of inquiry committee chairman Ludovic Orban, but also with the latter’s having referred his request to a „lady working with the Ministry” (director Doina Ilie – Ed. Note) and not to the Minister of Finance, who represents the institution.

Orban’s request to MFP director Doina Ilie was for information on the MT annual budget breakdown by quarters, the budget execution over the first two quarters and budget categories.

The MFP put its response together based on reports from several expert departments, on internal notes worded in technical terms, which – Pogea says – were incorrectly interpreted and needed further clarification.

The MFP said on Wednesday in a release that it has in no way altered the content of the document sent to the committee inquiring into the activities of Minister of Tourism, as proven by the document’s registration number.

The document was registered on Wednesday with the Parliament of Romania, the Chamber of deputies’ filing office, at the entry 5043/19.08.2009.
According to MFP, the document contains several add-ons to the previous official paper released on August 14.

The freshly submitted document only brings clarification to the undue interpretations and changes nothing in the initial statements, says the release.
The second MFP document stirred some controversy inside the inquiry committee, because the document was withdrawn from the Chamber of deputies’ filing office after hand-delivery and registration.

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