PM Dancila tells Parliament Romania tops the rankings of EU's fastest growing economies

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Friday in Parliament that Romania has recorded one of the highest economic growth rates of all the member states in the European Union and provided a state of the play in investment, local administration appropriations, as well as increases in pensions and wages.

"In the two years of the PSD-ALDE [Social Democratic Party - Alliance of Liberal and Democrats] governance, Romania has witnessed spectacular economic growth, which has been reflected in substantial increases in the income of the population. This year, we allocate 50 billion for investment, which will boost sound economic growth and that explains quite well, among other factors, why we are counting on a 5.5pct increase in 2019. Romania's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will exceed the 1 trillion lei mark for the first time, a third more than when it took over government in December 2016. Last year, we had an economic growth three times higher than the European average, and public pay and pensions increased as promised," Dancila said in a speech to Parliament.

She told the MPs to look at figures to see that the national government's revenues reached their highest level ever.

"This year, net average earning will be 50pct higher than in December 2016. Government revenues have reached an all-time high, even as the share of revenue collection in relation to gross domestic product is lower, which is normal when rates and taxes are cut and tax incentives are provided for the economy. And in this regard, I would like to point out that this year will be the first time with a surplus in the pension budget; it will be for the first time when more money are contributed toward pensions then are spent, and I am telling all Romanians today to trust in our national economy, to dare believe in Romania, which tops the rankings of the fastest growing member states in the European Union," added Dancila.

She said the draft national budget that passed Parliament have what it takes to cover increases in wages and pensions.

"We talked about investments, about increases in healthcare and education spending; I would not people to believe that we will deviate from the planned increases in the income of the population this year, on the contrary. We have provided the budget with the necessary sums to cover increases in public pensions and wages, as we pledged in the governance program and the uniform public pay law, raise. The minimum wage goes up by 10pct, and pay to the public servants increases on average by a quarter of the remaining raise difference for the 2018-2022. We continue to offer holiday vouchers this year as well of 1,450 lei per employee, as well as a food allowance equivalent to two minimum wages; as for the pensioners, the pension computation point will increase by 15pct, to 1,265 lei, starting September 1, and the minimum pension will increase by 10pct, to 704 lei. The increase for this year has been paid in advance on July 1 last year, and was higher than the indexation provided by law, and on September 1, we will raise in advance by higher amounts than what was initially envisaged," said Dancila.

According to her, the local administration appropriations will be higher than in previous years.

"Dear MPs, I would like to put aside all the fake news about the local administration appropriations. Reality is one and cannot be contradicted: local administrations will receive more money than in previous years, and many of these additional sums are intended for local investment. The elected local representatives will have an increase in revenues of 7 billion lei, which will come as income tax revenue, which will remain entirely with the local administrations," said Dancila.

Parliament on Friday passed the 2019 national budget and the social security budget. AGERPRES (RO - author: Alina Novaceanu, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor; Adina Panaitescu)

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