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Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Wednesday that he will discuss next week with the associative organisations of the local public administrations the 2021 budget and that the degree of government revenue collection, the way the public money is used, and staff expenses will all be analysed.

He made the statement at a news conference, where he said that funds for creating and running COVID-19 vaccination centres will be disbursed by the Ministry of Health, and that it is important to establish clear criteria so that the funds are not overestimated.

"Next week, I will have a discussion with the Association of County Councils, with the Association of Municipalities, with the Association of Cities, and small towns. We will discuss the budget for 2021. [Vaccination centres] do not incur the biggest public expense in 2021. There are other outlays, and what we will be discussing are government revenue collection and how public money is used by the local administrations and the rebalancing amounts that come from the national budget. We would like to make a correlation with the degree of collection and the size of the staff recently hired, staff expenses, etc. The reform we have announced at state-owned companies does not stop at state-owned companies. The hemorrhage of inefficient public money does not stop at state-owned companies. We will go with reform all over the place, and then the money that comes from the national budget this year and in the future must go to where it can be used the best," said Citu.

He mentioned that the basic principle for setting the budgets of local administrations is the same as in previous years.

"Last year was a different year, but I will have a transparent, honest conversation with the county councils and the Association of Municipalities and Cities. I have seen debates in the public space and I think they are all debates before the budget. We do not have the budget for 2021, but when we have the budget everyone will know exactly the amounts and how they will be appropriated. But the basic principle is the same as every time. Hundred percent of the revenue that the local administration collects will go back to the local administrations, and we will see how to appropriate extra revenue," the prime minister said.

Citu also voiced hope that the government's emergency ordinance on funding and operating the COVID-19 of vaccination centres will be drafted by Friday, but noted that it is important to establish clear criteria so that the 'bill' is not 'overcharged.'

"It is an ordinance that is in the approval procedure. I hope it will be ready by Friday. The payment mechanism needs to be clarified. I think we are going in one direction, as we have used so far, with reimbursements from the national budget via the Ministry of Health. I want to be very careful about the criteria, because there have been cases in the past when the bill was overcharged, so to speak, and I want to make sure that we have clear criteria that define such expenses that be reimbursed via the Ministry of Health from the national budget," said Citu. AGERPRES (RO - author: Irinela Visan, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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