Friday, November 15, 2013

Romania's economy returns to pre-crisis levels: PM

The Romanian economy reached this year the pre-crisis levels of 2008 and next year, the country will have the highest gross domestic product (GDP) since 1989, said Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Thursday when presenting the draft budget for the coming year.

"In 2013 we reach the GDP of 2008, closing the period of decline in Romania," Ponta told a press conference at the government headquarters, stressing that "obviously, we will have in 2014 the highest GDP after the year of 1989."

Official statistics showed that in 2008, Romania had the highest GDP of 137 billion euros (about 200 billion US dollars) since 1989, when the eastern European country changed its political system.

Ponta's cabinet approved on Thursday the draft of the state budget and that of state social security budget for 2014.

According to him, the overall budget, including the state budget, the social security budget, the other budgets part of the consolidated budget, totals 230 billion lei (69.38 billion dollars).

"We obtain 216 billion lei (65.16 billion dollars) of it from taxes, duties and other revenues and 14 billion lei (4.22 billion dollars) will be the deficit - i.e. what we consume more than we produce to the budget," the prime minister explained.

The budget figures unveiled by the prime minister show that the Romanian budget revenues will account for 32.9 percent of the GDP, as compared to the EU average budget revenues of 46 percent of GDP.

Among the main objectives of his cabinet for the year to come, Ponta mentioned pension indexation by 3.76 percent, salary increase for resident doctors and the debutant employees in education, social security contributions decrease by 5 percent, reduced VAT (value added tax) for food, as well as minimum wage increase by 12.5 percent.

According to the prime minister, the economy of the country will have a growth of 2.2 percent next year, with an averaged inflation of 2.4 percent and an average exchange rate of 4.45 lei against the euro.

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