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Negriţoiu: Romania of today is the failure of the political generation of the '90s

Autor: Razvan Voican

23.01.2011, 23:55 31

Former minister and presidential advisor in the early '90s andbanker for 14 years, Negriţoiu says his generation is to blame forRomania's recurring slippages.

Romania's current economic situation marks the failure of thepolitical generation of the '90s, which is still in power, withPresident Traian Băsescu and central bank governor Mugur Isărescuas representatives, says Mişu Negriţoiu, CEO of ING Bank, formerreform minister in the early '90s and then advisor to President IonIliescu.

"We are back where we started from: from the way basic policiesare approached to the quality of the act of governance, we are backto the early '90s, when at least we had the excuse of not knowingvery much. Now we have more vulnerabilities than before joining theEuropean Union, because it was apparent that with us, slippages canrecur: we rectify a situation and then the problem comes back.15-20 years ago we did not know what to do, then we knew, but wentabout it the wrong way. So, we ended up being the only EU countryto continue to work with the World Bank on basic economicrestructuring programmes. This is the failure brought about by thepolitical generation of the '90s, which I was part of, whoserepresentatives are President Băsescu and Governor Isărescu."

Negriţoiu turns 61 in spring, and was 39 at the time of the 1989Revolution. Isărescu will be 62 in August, and Băsescu will turn 60in November, all three of whom are representatives of a generationof around 40 year-olds at the time of the Revolution and who tookover leading positions in the state structures. Negriţoiu was headof the Foreign Investment Agency, reform minister and laterpresidential advisor and deputy until 1997, when he moved to thebanking sector, taking over a top management position at ING Bank.For nearly five years he has been CEO of ING Bank Romania and sayshe has no intention of returning to a job with the stateadministration.

On another note, ING Bank Romania's boss says the National Bankof Romania did not use any of the levers a central bank normallyuses to drive an economy out of crisis - the flexibility of theexchange rate, which is merely theoretical, the rate cut or thecash injection.

"NBR did not use any levers and now we are wondering why theprolonged crisis. Because what should have been done was not donein due time, because the agreement with the IMF actually workedonly one year out of two, in 2010, and today's situation is theresult of the tolerance for postponement of economic growth steps.The reboot was delayed for one year, as well," the banker toldZF.