Romanians give a stark lesson in how not to manage debt
Dismissing the official charged with setting up a debt agency sends the wrong signals at home and abroad.
Among the many benefits of setting up a debt management agency is that it operates outside the political sphere, distancing a country’s funding officials from the vagaries of elections and reshuffles, and minimizing the problems that frequent personnel changes can cause.
Such an agency also brings a professionalism and understanding of the needs of the private sector that many public sector officials might lack.
This, at least, is the theory. On the ground in the Romanian capital Bucharest, though, things seem to play out differently.
In September, Romania’s deputy finance minister and state secretary with responsibility for debt strategy, Dragos Neacsu, was dismissed. A major part of the remit of Neacsu, who joined the ministry from the private sector earlier this year, was to set up Romania’s debt management agency, only the third in central and eastern Europe after those established in Hungary and Slovakia.
It seems that the writing was on the wall for Neacsu once his boss – former public finance minister Ionut Popescu – received his marching orders in August, as his sacking seems primarily connected with the new minister’s desire to bring in his own team.