THE LACK OF COHERENCE AND PREDICTABILITY SLOWS THE MOVING AHEAD PACE
The economy of the country cannot be seen totally separate from the general society climate. Therefore, Romanian society needs to re-assess its value scales, and to reinforce the power of values like “Respect” and “Responsibility”. This cannot be changed overnight, and in order to be realized it requires the implication of each and everyone in our society, starting from the highest levels (the “tone at the top” is extremely important in our case) and ending with the small gestures that each of us is doing in their day to day activities. There is an urgent need to be learned again what “Respect” means (be it respect for the laws, or respect for the other individuals), and the society needs to do things responsibly and take responsibility for actions, if progress is intended.
The lack of long-term vision and coherence in the application of certain policies by different governments are also important threats to the future of the Romanian economy, business climate and society. In the same idea, the lack of stability (be it political, fiscal etc.) are major threats and subjects of concern to the potential foreign investors that might consider our country as an investment option.
A strong education system and the ability to keep the brilliant minds in Romania are also key to the economy advance. If the society and the economy keep on failing in finding a solution to these problems, there is no chance for staying competitive in the future. And these are only some of the major internal factors that have to be carefully considered for the economic future. Then of course there are external factors as well. The Romanian economy is depending on the economical evolutions in Europe and in the world, however, as Romania itself cannot influence those factors, my opinion is that we should focus on the internal factors that would allow us to be stronger and better prepared to any scenario that might happen in the future.
HOW TO REGAIN THE INVESTORS’ TRUST
Any Government that would come to power in Romania would need to focus on restoring (or actually increasing, as it’s hard to use the term “restore” here, for something that did not actually exist), the investors’ trust in the viability and reliability of our systems.
From the discussions we had with several potential investors, they seem to appreciate some of the advantages that our country has to offer (quality of the workforce for instance), however there are several factors which are discouraging them , such as the political instability, the corruption, the excessive bureaucracy, the poor infrastructure, and the list can continue… The list of priorities of any Romanian government should include at least the following points:
- Increase collection of taxes (or to be more specific, reduce tax evasion); it’s hard to believe that the government does not know which are the areas where tax evasion is stronger, and cannot focus efforts (e.g. more frequent and timely controls, set-up monitoring tools to timely notice unusual evolutions etc.) in those areas;
- Focus efforts on finalization of major infrastructure projects; the pace of building highways is unacceptable now;
- Address more seriously and firmly the issue of corruption; for this, the government officials should be an example and should be beyond any susceptibility of corruption. The laws should punish more strongly any proven acts of corruption, and not only on paper, to set a strong example for anyone who would consider such actions.
- Reduce bureaucracy; for instance the number of documents that need to be filed with authorities, and the time spent to get authorizations need to be significantly reduced if we want to attract investors;
- Quality of employees in the public sector – one of the areas where the governments need to focus is how to attract better professionals in public service. In this respect I think the government should find a formula to have less employees in public sector, but better paid and going through a stricter selection process. The jobs in public sector should be more attractive to young university graduates, by setting for instance more motivating remuneration packages (that could include not only higher salaries, but also other facilities) and a system of promotion on merit / performance, not age. Improving of working conditions should also be considered.
Some of the above points are not short-term actions (these are not things that can be changed overnight), but long-term goals which require vision of the people who will lead us, responsibility for the future of the country and political coherence, as these are goals that should be followed by all political parties that might come to power, no matter which side of the political spectrum they are.
NATIONAL ECONOMY STRATEGY: A 360 DEGREES-VISION ON INDUSTRIES WITH POTENTIAL
It is clear that an economy doesn’t’ stand for an exclusive focus on one field / sector when considering the future well-being of a country. No economy can grow without a proper infrastructure and without a banking system capable of financing businesses and sustain their development, but in the same time you cannot ignore the importance of education in the future development of the country. For building a solid economy, authorities, regulatory bodies, lobby institutions together with companies and private investors should focus on highly potential industries as energy, IT&C, agriculture and food industry.