AmCham Romania warns of “accelerated decrease in the quality of public policy, law-making and governance in Romania” in light of adoption of OUG 114

Anca Alexe 01/02/2019 | 11:19

AmCham Romania has issued a statement claiming that “counterproductive measures adopted without impact assessments and without observing the legal requirements for transparency reached an alarming level at the beginning of 2019” and that the quality of public policy, law-making and governance in Romania is declining in an accelerated manner. 

The statement of The American Chamber of Commerce in Romania reads as follows:

“We are confronted with concomitant changes through emergency ordinances, of legislation governing multiple strategic sectors for the economy, in a fast-forward mode that does not allow for observing all the necessary steps for ensuring the predictability, transparency and assessment of the economic and social impact of the adopted measures.

Such an approach has deemed the National Reform Program obsolete in setting national reform priorities, while the results of World Bank projects aimed at restructuring reform implementation mechanisms within the central government function are long-forgotten.

As the business community calls for the abrogation of OUG 114/2018, the government announces new legislative projects with widespread implications in the economy, deepening the uncertainty and the risks that Romania becomes more vulnerable to the tensions characterizing the global, regional and national economic context and to an economic cycle reaching maturity.

The announced measures include the OUG Draft initiated by ANPC imposing fines of up to 4 percent of the economic operators’ turnover, the unexplainable transfer of attributions from ANAF to CNSP (National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis) or pressures on independent institutions such as the Competition Council by imposing an unrealistic calendar for finalizing investigations or systematic attacks at the National Bank of Romania.

Similar concerns are raised by the distortion of the normal pace of preparation, public consultation and approval by the Parliament of the State Budget Project for 2019.

Such approach, disconnected from the standard practice and from the calendar set by the Public Finance Law for the adoption of the state budget, denies any opportunity to have a qualitative public consultation on the most important public policy tool for the allocation of resources for the current year, and an in-depth scrutiny of the allocation of public resources in the Parliament.

The flow of emergency ordinances which lack the emergency and which deviate from the European rules for better regulation, from the standards practice in place regarding the impact of new regulation on SMEs and the Regulatory Impact Assessment norms, is oftentimes aggressive, deepens the lack of predictability in the economy, declines the confidence in the regulation process, casts doubt on the real motivation behind these measures adopted despite repeated negative signals from stakeholders in the market, and distances Romania from its commitments within the EU.

Ironically, all of these are taking place precisely in a period when the attention Romania receives from the Member States and the European institutions is peaking as we hold the rotating Presidency of the EU Council.

AmCham Romania points out that this comes with a high price that Romania will pay in terms of country image and credibility among investors, built over time, with sustained efforts and very hard to recover once lost.

Meanwhile, Romanians who choose not to leave the country yet are hit by increasing prices following OUG 114/2018 and companies are giving up investments and expansion plans in favor of other markets.

We call for a return to a transparent and constructive regulatory process that pursues long-term development goals rather than partisan, short-term interests.”

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