By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
An association of road transporters in Romania has today asked the government not to introduce a 7 Euro-cents fuel excise as of April, which has ruffled political feathers in Bucharest, warning the new tax may instead incur more losses to the state budget rather than generate income.
In a press release, the national Union of Road Transporters in Romania (UNTRR) warned that, if the new tax is implemented, the Romanian road transporters who deal in international trade will only fuel abroad and thus all the calculations the Romanian government has made based on the new tax would be rendered useless.
In Romania, the annual fuel consumption goes up to about 7 billion liters, of which 5 billion is diesel and the rest is gasoline, according to the communiqué.
“By reorienting abroad a mere 13 per cent of the current diesel consumption in Romania any hypothetical gain of the Romanian state is annulled” warns UNTRR. Thus, of the total 5 billion diesel consumed in Romania reorienting 13 per cent of the fueling abroad would incur losses of 65 Euro-cents per liter to the Romanian state.
The government is hoping to raise about 430 million Euros from applying the 7 Euro-cent excise (plus VAT), but these calculations are based on the current fuel consumption rate. As an example, the union said that a Romanian international operator which has 200 trucks and which currently consumes 300,000 diesel liters at home and 300,000 liters abroad will fuel 500,000 liters abroad and merely 100,000 liters in Romania.
UNTRR also points out that road transporters could basically relocate abroad about 70 per cent of the fuelling which will translate into a financial disaster for the Romanian state. Fueling abroad would also lead to the state losing the current applied fuel excise, namely 330 Euro per 1.000 liters, it also warned.
With President Traian Basescu fiercely opposing the new fuel excise, PM Victor Ponta said he would apply it as of 1 April whether the head of state like it or not. But Ponta later admitted he had discussed the issue with the IMF delegation and said the fund is willing to accept another three months delay in applying the tax. Analysts say Ponta wants to postpone the new tax for after the European Parliament elections late May fearing an electoral backlash.