Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some 20% of Romania's 2009 budget to go to investment: PM

BUCHAREST, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- As much as 20 percent of the Romanian 2009 strengthened budget will go to investment, Prime Minister Emil Boc announced on Wednesday after talks with the trade unions and employers.

"We need massive public investment. Twenty percent of the budget will go to investment, that is, 10 billion euros (13.1 billion U.S. dollars)," said Boc, adding the government will show solidarity with the people living on a low income.

The government's offices will host talks on the budget on Thursday, by taking into account all the consultations and discussions having taken place so far, Emil Boc said after a meeting with the social partners -- trade unions and employers, at the Public Finance Ministry's headquarters.

"We spoke about a few very important aspects related to the priorities of this government and to Romania's weathering the crisis. It is about the state's massive public investment in economy. It is the government's pledge that 20 percent of the budget goes to investment, in order for such investment to create jobs, to bring financial resources so that we may cope with this crisis. We want to give the money to those sectors that create jobs, so that Romania may go forward," he said.

Boc also spoke about the welfare side of the budget. "Our basic concern is that those who live on very low pensions, the vulnerable brackets of the society should benefit from our solidarity at this time of crisis, that we should help them and those who earn low salaries," he stressed.

The draft budget will be presented to the social partners one more time before being put forward to Parliament, the prime minister announced.

Boc said that the government, in order to draw up the final form of the 2009 draft state budget, held consultations with the social partners as well as with the two parties making up the Partnership for Romania, namely the ruling Social Democrats (PSD) and Democrat Liberals (PD-L).

President Traian Basescu also met the social partners on Wednesday. "I came to the meeting to present the economic situation of Romania and also the environment in which it evolves, with the recession announcing to be very bad in the EU member states, that is also our main market. Starting from this point, I wanted to show the effects of the world downturn on the Romanian economy: a substantial cut in the export figure, which will have a negative impact on preserving the same amount of labor force in the national companies," said Basescu at the meetings.

"I wanted to make you talk about our possibility to find solutions to redirect resources from the state budget to launch investment projects, instead of just waiting for such resources to come from Europe," the head of state stressed.

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