Romanian government plans grants, vouchers worth $3.81 billion to support economy

By Reuters

BUCHAREST – Romania’s coalition government announced on Monday a series of grants, vouchers and subsidies worth 17.3 billion lei ($3.81 billion) to help vulnerable Romanians and key industries cope with rising prices and supply shocks.

Roughly half the cost of the measures, which have yet to be approved and will be enforced in stages from May and June until the end of the year, will be covered by European Union funds.

The package includes aid for small firms’ energy bills, and grants to attract new investments and support current public works contracts, as well as aid for Romanian farmers and subsidies for fuel prices for transporters.

Romania’s central bank had cited the war in neighbouring Ukraine as adding to pressure on food and fuel prices when it lifted its benchmark interest rate last week.

The government on Monday said it will enable companies to raise the monthly minimum wage by a tax-exempt 200 lei on a voluntary basis.

Some 4.7 million pensioners and other low-income families will receive vouchers for basic food products worth 50 euros every two months.

The government has already approved a support scheme based on price caps and subsidies for electricity and gas bills for households and other clients until March 2023.

($1 = 4.5384 lei)