The Ministry of Regional Development, Public Administration and European Funds wants at least 80% of the royalties paid to the central state budget by the companies that exploit mineral resources in Romania to be later transferred to the budgets of the mayoralties and county councils where these exploitation activities are actually running, according to a government document signed by Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sevil Shhaideh.
As of now, an interministerial committee set up at the Ministry of Economy and which includes the Ministry of Development is working on a draft law for the systematization of royalties in the field of mineral resources, which will include both petroleum royalties, for oil and gas production, and mining royalties. "At the level of the committee, the Ministry of Development has submitted to the Ministry of Economy a series of proposals, including that of transferring a share of at least 80% of the amounts constituted as royalties to the administrative-territorial units within which the economic operators (concessionaires) are exploiting", the quoted document reads.
The deadline for finalizing and referring to Parliament the draft law is August this year. In January, in a hearing at the special parliamentary committees on appointment as minister, Sevil Shhaideh said some of the royalties should go to local communities. "Personally, I think that where the resource is exploited at the level of the administrative-territorial unit, part of that royalty should be transferred to the local community", the deputy prime minister said at the time. In the first nine months of last year, petroleum and mining royalties in total amount of over RON 912mln were collected, down over 20% compared to the similar period of 2015.
During 2015, the proceeds amounted to about RON 1.3 billion. The idea of splitting the money collected from royalties between the central budget and the local budgets has circulated several times over the last few years, with no concrete results, being included in a first draft of the national energy strategy finalized last year. It was also included in the election program from 2014 of President Klaus Iohannis, in which he stated that not only local communities, but also owners of land where mineral resources are exploited should receive part of royalties related to these exploitations, as it happens in the United States.
In 2013, the Prime Minister at the time, Victor Ponta, said that, by amending the Petroleum Law, money collected from royalties would be split between the central budget and local budgets, without being fully paid to the state budget. Previously, in 2011, Boc Government had announced that it would establish under a GEO that a 20% share of royalties collected should be assigned to the local budgets of the administrative and territorial units where the perimeters/blocks with resources are found, but later he changed his mind and gave up the initiative. PM Sorin Grindeanu has recently stated, in Buzau, that the Law on royalties was being prepared and it would be ready this quarter. He attended, together with Energy Minister Toma Petcu and Economy Minister Mihai Tudose, the presentation of the largest onshore gas field discovered by the Romanian state in the last 30 years, on Caragele platform, in the locality of CA Rosetti, in Buzau County.