World Bank praises Romanian reforms

Ciprian Domnisoru

"Romania is second in the world as to the reforms made in the past two years. This will contribute not only to the development of the business environment, but also to growth in the number of jobs," said Simeon Djankov, one of the authors of "Doing Business 2007 - How to Reform" report of the World Bank. Representatives of the World Bank met with Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu to discuss the report. "Since 2005, Romania has registered progress as to the procedures for obtaining authorizations, employment, obtaining credits, protecting investments, foreign trade and bankruptcy procedures," the study shows. One of the primary advantages of the fast pace of reforms will be the positioning of Romania in 2007 in 49th place in a ranking of the 175 countries providing the most favorable conditions for the development of business.

In some areas, Romania has registered slower progress. For example, Romania ranks 114th as to registering properties, 116th in obtaining authorizations, 101st in hiring workers, 108th in bankruptcy procedures and 131st in matters of tax payment. "I think the different chapters in which Romania is not performing well are areas on which we will be working. It would have been great to solve them, but not all of them can be tackled at the same time. It is important that we see the trend," Prime Minister Tariceanu said.

Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu said that regarding the issue of the labor force, the ministry he heads is working with the Ministry of Labor to reduce the level of social contributions and simplify the system. On the matter of companies and employees' contributions to the state budget, Vladescu said the tax system has "communist influences and is based on a social protection system."

"We have 4.8 million employees and about seven million pensioners. The system needs to be corrected in time. I hope we do not adopt the Swedish model, but one which Europe is looking at, the American one, in which the individual insures his future, and not the company," Vladescu said.

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