Victor Ponta about 2019 state budget: It is a fake, it's not a realistic budget

Pro Romania Party Chairman Victor Ponta says the state budget for 2019 is a "fake," not a realistic and serious one, and the manner in which it is attempted to be passed through Parliament proves there is no desire for "a real debate and analysis."

"In the form this budget was presented the days before, it is a fake, it is not a realistic, serious budget, and the manner in which it is attempted to be passed through Parliament, to file the amendments in 24 hours, it is very clear that in Parliament there will be no desire and we won't be allowed to have real debate and analysis. The first call on the Government is to take the draft back and try to improve it here and there, in its essential parts, so that it should be an as realistic as possible budget. Otherwise, the revisions that will follow - a revision cannot be done before July - will actually be entirely different budgets from what is hastily and forcedly adopted in the days to come," Ponta told a press conference on Sunday.

In his opinion, the 5.5 percent economic growth forecast, which the budget was built on, is an exaggerated one.

"Absolutely all analysts - the European Commission, the Monetary Fund, the World Bank - all those who are in charge with these things, have assessed the evolution of the Romanian economy in an optimistic manner at somewhere between 3.5 and 3.8 percent. There are also less optimistic predictions. Nowhere, in no variant is there the 5.5 percent projection which the budget was built on, a projection probably made by Mr. Darius Valcov. The thing that happens with these projections is that the economic growth is inflated so that you can inflate the deficit, so that you can inflate the expenditure," Ponta maintained.

In context, former PM Mihai Tudose said that this budget cannot be amended in any way, because it is only one of "consumption, without setting the grounds for a sustainable development with absolutely nothing."

"We are certain that 10 percent are expenses for state employees from an inflated GDP. On a real GDP, they will be much higher. This also means a useless spending and an excessive bureaucracy, in the context in which we promised during the election campaign that we would perform a state reform. The reform has been done now, in the sense of decentralising some expenses, namely the local authorities were assigned 10 lei expenses with 5 lei funding. The current Government claims that it increased the local budgets, but for each leu coming in addition to the budget, other two lei have come as additional spending. There is an entire list with letters to Santa Claus, they are fake, because the budget will come into force in March, if we don't manage with all responsible political forces to prevent this budget and this Government from going further. In fact, it is only a consumption budget, without setting the grounds for a sustainable development with absolutely nothing. What should we amend? The Government must be taken down or they should draw up a realistic budget," Tudose said.

In his opinion, it is not possible that 30 percent of the budget revenues come from what the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) collects.

"This is impossible. The adjustment will come from cutting expenses, failing to observe the external commitments, failing to observe the investment programmes, probably further manipulating the figures. You cannot take loans forever. If things perpetuate, if we keep digging a big hole to cover a smaller one, we'll end up with a huge hole with Romania on the edge, one step away from falling in," the former PM underscored. AGERPRES (RO - author: Sorin Penes, editor: Catalin Alexandru; EN - editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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