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Romanian Political Deadlock on IMF Accord to End, Premier Says

Political deadlock over Romania’s accord with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union will end as President Traian Basescu signs off on the necessary paperwork, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said.

The lenders “successfully” completed a review of the agreement as the government decided not to include an additional fuel tax in documents that will be sent to the IMF’s board following Basescu’s signature, Ponta said after meeting a joint IMF-EU mission. The tax will enter into force April 1, he said.

“The president will sign the letter of intent to the IMF if the additional excise isn’t included in the document, so we took it out,” Ponta said today in a speech in Bucharest. “I was assured after a meeting between the international lenders and the president that the political deadlock will end.”

The IMF’s Washington-based board canceled a debate on Romania’s progress under the treaty following a December review because of political squabbling over an additional excise on fuel prices of 7 euro cents per liter. Its approval is needed to complete quarterly reviews of the 4 billion-euro ($5.4 billion) loan, equally split between the IMF and the EU.

Romania considers the accord precautionary, to be used to shield itself against market shocks and help reduce debt-financing costs. It hasn’t drawn down any funds.

The government agreed on several measures to stimulate economic growth, including aid to help individuals repay loans and reduce debt, Ponta said today. The measure could help about 1 million citizens, he said.

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