Data from the National Council of Private SMEs in Romania (CNIPMMR) shows that, in the first three months of 2018, the legislative framework was significantly changed, as the Fiscal Code suffered 120 legislative alterations, which have affected and continue to affect the activity of SMEs.

At the general level, official data shows that in the first three months of this year, 835 legislative acts were adopted, and over 45 percent of these directly and significantly affected enterprises, including SMEs (fiscal legislation, mandatory statements and contributions, etc.).

Florin Jianu, president of CNIPMMR, said: “The number of changes in the Fiscal Code in Q1 of 2018 is 173 percent higher than in Q1 2017, meaning 120 articles were modified or completed in the first quarter – and the previous year had had a record number of fiscal legislative changes. With this huge volume of legislative acts adopted in the first quarter, we can predict that Romania will continue to hold the undesirable first place in the regional ranking of legislative changes, while in neighbouring countries there is a trend towards simplifying and ensuring a stable and predictable legislative framework, an essential factor for investors.”

According to Jianu, the changes brought to the fiscal legislation have generated multiple negative effects on SMEs, including tax increases, increased bureaucracy for all taxpayers and employers, increased spending with staff, increased administrative expenditures and issues with ensuring competitiveness.

The organisation’s report also shows that in January-February 2018, direct investments of non-residents in Romania have decreased by 3.17 percent, totaling EUR 794 million.

The number of newly established foreign capital companies was 848 and their total social capital is over USD 3.59 million, a decrease of 57.9 percent.

The number of companies with foreign capital that were suspended in Romania was up by 66.5 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2017, while the number of closures has increased by 74.2 percent.

CNIPMMR is calling for a REFIT programme to simplify the legislative framework in Romania, similar to the REFIT programme implemented by the European Commission in 2002, which would ensure a reform of legislation and the elimination of useless or irrelevant legislation, the revision and retraction of some acts that are in development, the replacement of legally mandatory documents with less strict alternatives such as voluntary agreements (auto-regulation, co-regulation), as 835 legislative acts passed over 3 months are very difficult to keep track of and implement.