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Romania's Government Squandered Money It Borrowed From EBRD, EU and IMF

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08 Mar 2010 - 00:00
Romania squandered most of the money it borrowed from the EU and IMF since February 2009, with its cronic lack of investment projects, states EBRD chief economist Peter Sanfey in a bank working paper issued in February. The economic stimuli agreed upon in the 13 billion Euro program the Government put forth to support the economy were so far more a fact of imagination than reality, alleges Sanfey.

In Sanfey's own words, "most governments announced various fiscal programmes that appeared to be expansionary but in reality have had little impact on the actual economy. Take the example of Romania, where the government announced in February 2009 a €13 billion stimulus package to help counteract the worst effects of the crisis. The idea was to earmark most of it (more than €10 billion) for infrastructure projects. So far, the "stimulus" has been more imaginary than real; few projects have got off the ground and the effect on economic growth has been negligible."

Romania borrowed in May 2009 some 20 bilion Euro to fend off the economic crisis, the IMF lending 12.95 billion Euro of the amount. That money was earmarked to go in the Central Bank coffers to help commercial banks in financial difficulties to lower their interest rates and win back thei clients. And the IMF set clear guidelines and performance criteria for the budget deficit and inflation rate, which was supposed to stay under 4.5% in 2009 and under 2.5% in 2010.
The last 2.3 billion Euro of the loan got into Romanian coffers by the end of February 2010. Half of the money went to balance the budget deficit, and the other half went to strengthen the Central Bank hard currency reserves.

The third installment, worth 1.5 billion Euro, was to be given Romania at the end of December, but it wasn't, due to the political crisis unfolding before and after the presidential elections in late 2009.

The rest of about 8 billion Euro, from the initial 20 billion, came from the EU, the World Bank and EBRD.

The IMF experts visited Romania in January, to assess its progress, when IMF chief of mission in Romania, Jeffrey Franks, said he would recommend the IMF board to release Romania the other two installments by mid-February.

On the same occadions, the European Commission representative Fabienne Ilzkovitz stated the Delegation of the EU Commission postively assessed the second and third evaluation sessions, hence an installment of another billion Euro will be given Romania in March.
Translated by AAP
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