February 13, 2019 / 4:41 PM / 7 months ago

Romania may scrap plans to tax energy firms -senate speaker

BUCHAREST, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Romania may scrap a 2.0 percent tax on energy companies’ turnover, senate speaker Calin Tariceanu said on Wednesday, following widespread criticism of the ruling coalition’s tax policies.

Romania’s Social Democrat-led government announced the tax in December, alongside a raft of other levies and caps on gas and electricity prices, without any warning or impact assessment or public debate.

The tax plans hit country’s stock market, which fell 12 percent towards its worst day on record on December 19 after the new taxes were announced.

“I’ve discussed with the prime minister about the decree and have ... explained the 2 percent tax will severely affect development possibilities for energy companies,” Tariceanu was quoted as saying by state news agency Agerpres. He is also leader of a junior party in the ruling coalition.

“The prime minister agreed this tax was excessive. We must assess it, and most likely we will give up this tax.”

The proposals also include a tax on banks’ assets tied to money market rates that the central bank has said was an attack on its independence and the European Central Bank warned could impact financial stability.

Two major international development banks have since formally complained to Romania about the proposed bank taxes.

Oil and gas group OMV Petrom, controlled by Austria’s OMV, said earlier this month that the current legislative environment in Romania did not provide the necessary “prerequisites” for a multi-billion investment decision in its Neptun Deep offshore project in the Black Sea. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Radu Marinas and Jane Merriman)

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