The second edition of the Oltenia Regional Economic Forum (FERO) organized in Craiova brought together ambassadors and diplomats eager to find more about the business opportunities that this part of the country has to offer. The debates organized for each section of the Forum provided new and useful information both for farmers and for anyone interested in accessing European Funds.
Ten ambassadors, the Minister of Economy, Mr. Varujan Vosganian, representatives of local authorities from Dolj, Gorj, Olt, Vâlcea and Mehedinţi, private entrepreneurs from Oltenia, representatives of the academic environment and many other guests attended yesterday the second edition of FERO. The debates organized at FERO took place in the morning, at the University of Craiova, in the presence of many participants. The event was opened by the organizer of FERO, Mr. Constantin Popeci, one of Craiova’s businessmen, who said that “we have to use marketing, to know and to promote the economic capacities that Oltenia has to offer”. The former Prefect of Dolj County, Mr. Nicolae Giugea, who was the co-president of FERO, mentioned that the purpose of having organized such an event in Craiova was “to put Oltenia back on Romania’s economic map”. The Rector of the University of Craiova, Mr. Dan Claudiu Dănişor, thanked the Forum organizers for their efforts to have the Forum in Craiova, in these times of economic crisis and, addressing the representatives of the business environment, said that “they are those who keep us floating”.
The main purpose of FERO is to inform the ambassadors of different states about the business opportunities in Oltenia and to have such officials present them further, to the investors in the countries they represent.
Each of the vice-presidents of the county councils of Oltenia presented their county from an economic perspective. Mr. Cristinel Iovan, the vice-president of Dolj County Council said that there were “strong signals from important investors in the world who want to come to Dolj County”, but he did not name a certain company. Mr. Iovan spoke about the Craiova Airport, which will operate low-cost flights to Milan and to London, starting with this fall, but also about the Calafat-Vidin Bridge and the Craiova-Piteşti motorway that is to be built.
Mr. Ciprian Florescu, the vice-president of Gorj County Council, presented the top companies in this county and also spoke about the energy companies which “allowed Gorj County to become the energy heart of Romania”. He pointed out the most valuable resource of the county, namely human resources. “When Mr. Ion Călinoiu, the president of Gorj County Council, was asked by the Oltenia Business journalists which was the most important advantage of our county, from the economic point of view, he made it very clear: human resources”, Mr. Ciprian Florescu said.
The representatives of Olt and Vâlcea County Councils presented the most important companies, but also spoke about the investment opportunities and the agricultural, touristic and industrial potential of the counties.
Companies Ask Government to Communicate with the Business Environment
Mr. Ionuţ Simion, the representative of Pricewaterhouse Coopers România (PwC), explained for the audience what the business environment asks from the Government, such requests having been identified following the studies the company made. The companies want fewer administrative requirements, a more permissive fiscal regime and financial support for companies. As far as SMEs are concerned, PwC studies show that the top three difficulties that small and medium enterprises face are the reduction of internal demand, bureaucracy and excessive taxation. But “the biggest problem that companies have is that the Government takes these tax-related measures without consulting the business environment. Fiscal measures and public policies must take into account the needs of the business environment and such measures must be taken only after consulting the business environment, in order to become long-term measures”, Mr. Ionuţ Simion added.
The Minister of Economy Wants to Eliminate Stamps
The Minister of Economy, Mr. Varujan Vosganian attended the Forum and began his speech by saying that he was born in Craiova and used to live near the Madona Dudu Church. The Romanian official raised a very sensitive problem for Romania: elimination of stamps, following the lead of Western countries. “Close your eyes and imagine Romania without stamps. Romania should no longer have stamps. The elimination of stamps can be our way of forgetting about the past! The stamp represents slavery to bureaucracy”, the minister said, adding that the reindustrialization strategy project also provides for a section which proposes the elimination of stamps in Romania. Mr. Vosganian also said that money resources should be the fifth managerial concern of private entrepreneurs, while the first places should be occupied by information, communication, management and time, with money on the fifth.
Visit at the Ford Factory
Mr. Constantin Popeci’s companies offered Land Rover and Mercedes cars for the ambassadors who attended the Forum to use during their stay in Craiova. Foreign diplomats who attended FERO visited the Ford Romania factory. The ambassadors were joined by Mr. Varujan Vosganian, the Minister of Economy, and they all visited the factory which currently produces the Ford B-Max and the 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine.
Project for Reindustrialization
While at FERO, the Minister of Econmy, Mr. Varujan Vosganian, said that a strategy for reindustrializing Romania will be finalized by September. “We have identified 23 distinct industries in Romania and we will talk to 600 Romanian entrepreneurs. On Tuesday we talked to those in the textile industry, on Wednesday we had discussions with those in the pharmaceutical industry and on Thursday with those representing the furniture manufacturing industry”, Mr. Vosganian said.