Monday, May 10, 2010

Romania/IMF agree on wider 2010 budget gap-PM Boc

BUCHAREST, May 9 (Reuters) - Recession-hit Romania and a visiting IMF mission agreed on Sunday to a wider fiscal deficit target of 6.8 percent of gross domestic product this year against a previous 5.9 percent, Prime Minister Emil Boc said on Sunday.

Bucharest has pledged to reform its sprawling and highly unionised public sector, which accounts for one-third of all jobs, under its 20 billion euro ($26.83 billion) deal with the IMF.

Boc said Bucharest would slash the public sector wage bill 25 percent from June and pensions and jobless benefits by 15 percent to achieve the new fiscal cap.

"The measures we take will allow Romania to record a deficit of 6.8 percent (of GDP) this year," Boc told a news conference. "Our programme will help us keep ... taxes unchanged."

"These measures are the only ones that can ensure healthy economic growth on medium and long term."

The state payroll swallows 9 percent of gross domestic product, a figure experts say is twice as high as it should be. Overall, state wages, pensions and social benefits account for 62 percent of the budget.

Details on how the cuts will be enforced are expected at the end of an International Monetary Fund visit on Monday.

Romania was forecast to have no growth this year, Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu was quoted as saying by state news agency Agerpres earlier on Sunday.

Bucharest had previously committed to cut its fiscal gap by 130 basis points from 7.2 percent in 2009, but it was forced to negotiate a wider gap due to recent disappointing economic data and wider financial instability. ($1=.7453 Euro) (Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

No comments: