Mihai Tanasescu: Threat that pension fund depleted overplayed

Publish date: 03-11-2009
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The threat that money will be unavailable for pensions and salaries is overplayed. The most important requirement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now is the adoption of the Budget Law, Mihai Tanasescu, Romania's representative to the IMF, on Friday declared for Agerpres.

'The most important requirement of the IMF now is the passage of the 2010 Budget Law before the potential discussion at the IMF Board meeting on December 14 - 15. At this moment, there is need for more political maturity. Not only the IMF, but also the WB and EC missions, that is the major finance providers to Romania, are these days in Bucharest. What counts the most is for us to reach a minimum political consensus on some issues this country urgently needs. The most pressing requirement is for the 2010 budget to be adopted without deviating from the performance targets agreed upon with foreign finance providers. Therefore, a political consensus needs to be achieved in the coming days,' said Mihai Tanasescu, who has been a Finance Minister in the Adrian Nastase ruling line-up.

In an attempt to catalyze the achievement of this consensus, the IMF representatives have scheduled meetings on Friday with PSD president Mircea Geoana and held talks Thursday with president of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Crin Antonescu and Prime Minister and president of the Democratic Liberal Party Emil Boc. 'It is clear that this message on the need for consensus was pushed through to the political leaders in Bucharest. Now, it all depends on our political maturity if we take (or not) these issues in consideration and move on, as I think would be the normal way for us to do.'
Referring to the threat that there would be no more money for pensions and salaries, Mihai Tanasescu said this is 'an exaggeration.'

'This is not the right way to approach the problem,' said Romania's representative to the IMF. 'Of course, money from the IMF would have been very important to cover the budget deficit. If this money does not flow in as scheduled, in December, other financing sources can be found, but they will be more expensive and with shorter maturities. The eventuality of the IMF leaving without a solution being identified could influence the perception of the domestic and foreign market of Romania's economic situation. Economy might undergo pressure if we do not find common ground to solve problems facing us.'

Reviewing the situation at the time of the arrival in Bucharest of the IMF assessment mission (on October 28), Mihai Tanasescu said that 'a set of undeniable achievements was there to report on Sept. 30 and all conditionalities had been met. The issue now is that of the last three months (October, November and December) when negative developments are possible if the political situation delays reforms. But, I repeat, we must understand that the most compelling requirement of the IMF is the approval of the 2010 state budget before the potential Board discussion on Dec. 14 - 15.'

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