Bucharest, December 10, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Irina Stoica
The government has approved the 2016 budget. The final draft law covers a 10% pay rise for state employees and 5% increase in pensions. There will be no money for certain expenditures, such as gift or meal vouchers.
In 2016, the government will be counting on a 4.1 percent economic growth.
After the Cabinet members approved the budget, government spokesman Dan Suciu also announced some effects of that measure. “We shall cap consolidated budget expenditures by not granting bonuses, meal, gift & holiday vouchers or various retirement benefits. We’ll also cap, at the December 2015 level, all the allowances given to other categories of personnel”, Suciu said in a press conference.
The draft budget has no funds earmarked for church building or rehabilitation works of religious places. It’s the first Romanian Executive that basically cuts the Romanian Orthodox Church’s access to a slice of the budget. In exchange, the Government boosted the salaries of priests and other church employees. This wage increase comes to contradict the government’s announcement a few days ago, that there will be no budget allocations to religious denominations.
After a discussion with the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, however, Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş said that the Church would still benefit from state funding but would not specify the exact amount. “We’ll earmark fundsif we have them! This means that, for the time being, there is no budget appropriation for church building. We’re willing to allocate money for such purposes if we have the necessary resources, if one reaches a consensus on the matter and, obviously, if one still has lines of credit for such constructions. But, for the moment, we don’t have an explicit budget appropriation for church building”, government spokesman Dan Suciu explained.