Romania ups salaries of top officials to dishearten corruption

Romania ups salaries of top officials to dishearten corruption

Bucharest, July 8, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Daniel Stroe

The president of Romania, the speakers of the Senate and the Deputies’ Chamber as well as the prime minister will be paid 21,540 lei (4,800 Euros) in gross wage and earn a net 15,108 lei (3,300 Euros) starting this August 1, thus being paid as much as the president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, according to an Order on increasing the monthly pay for the highest public dignity positions in Romania that the Government approved during its Wednesday sitting.

The vice prime minister will get 20,000 lei (4,400 Euros) in gross monthly wage, with the net amount to stand at 14,024 lei (3,100 Euros), sources told state news wire Agerpres.

According to the act, the ministers and the intelligence service chiefs — the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), the Special Communications Service (STS) and the Dignitaries’ Protection and Guard Service (SPP) — will be paid 19,055 lei (4,250 Euros) in gross monthly wage, with the net amount to stand at 13,365 lei (2,979 Euros).

Caretaker Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea had announced earlier on Wednesday that the monthly pay for 48 public dignity positions will be raised, without however citing any amount.

In his turn, President Klaus Iohannis had previously appreciated the Government’s intention as ”wise and aiming far”; he declared it could be seen as a measure to prevent corruption.

”So far as I understand, there is an intention of the Government to increase ministerial pay. I find that a wise intention that aims far. I believe we could rate the intention a measure to prevent corruption. In the end, it is quite obvious that the ministerial remuneration has to reflect a position in the state to a reasonable extent,” Iohannis said Wednesday at the Cotroceni Palace.

He added that there are ministerial employees drawing higher pay than the ministers, and that as far as he is concerned the situation was not settled for purely populist reasons.

“I know that ministers many times find themselves in a situation in which in their own ministries there are public servants drawing a considerably higher wage than them, which cannot be a solution. At the same time, I believe the situation has not been settled so far because of purely populist reasons,” said Iohannis.

Romania has about 1.2 million state employees which make up almost 26 per cent of the total number of employees in the country, way above the 10 per cent this category represented in 1990. In most of the cases, the root of corruption lies at the level of underpaid low level state employees.