Most of the business environment in Romania (94 percent) considers that the lack of transport infrastructure is a major impediment to the country's economic development, while two-thirds of the respondents (66 percent) refer to the lack of public investment policies and programs, according to the results of a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania), presented on Thursday in a press conference by Ionut Simion, the president of the organization.
According to the centralized data, as regards the investment plans of the business environment, the responses of the 120 AmCham Romanian member companies showed that they show caution for the year 2019. Thus, most organizations anticipate this year investments of up to one million euro, and decisions in this regard are strongly conditioned by political stability, investment in infrastructure and higher performance in public administration.
"2018 was a good and very good year form the point of view of the performance of the majority of companies operating in Romania. Only 4 percent of the surveyed companies said 2018 was not a good year, 79 percent of them said their revenues increased. It is a good result that gives us reasons for optimism, but there are also a number of causes that have been highlighted in terms of the political environment. For the year 2019, the business environment declares itself optimistic, and there is an upward trend of the revenue growth and of the number of employees. On the other hand, at the investment level, companies are more cautious and expect to allocate smaller amounts of up to one million euro," Simion said.
AmCham's research also shows that the quality of digital infrastructure (52 percent), human capital (50 percent) and company tax (41 percent) are among the most appreciated market conditions that have contributed to the performance reported by companies. At the opposite end, are considered to be poor the transport quality (94 percent), the lack of public investment policies and programs (66 percent) and the macroeconomic stability (59 percent).
According to the survey, the main three measures that respondents see necessary for the significant improvement of Romania's investment framework and economic competitiveness are: reviewing the quality of public spending and channeling it towards investment (64 percent), increasing the absorption of European funds (55 percent) and investment in infrastructure (51 percent).
Moreover, among the most appreciated advantages is the growth potential, with 87 percent of the interviewed companies, followed by the quality of Romania as a member of the European Union (EU) - by 78 percent, respectively the quality of the human capital (53 percent).
At the same time, the question "How do you estimate the investment level in Romania?", 33 percent of the surveyed company officials said they were good, 33 percent that they were precarious and 30 percent declared themselves neutral.
According to AmCham's analysis, the main three measures to be taken to improve the business environment in Romania are accessing European funds (55 percent of respondents) and infrastructure investments (53 percent).
"By reviewing public spending and channeling it towards investments. By 2016 the level of public investment spending exceeded 5 percent of GDP. After that year, investment fell below 5 percent of GDP, approaching dangerously 4 percent, which will also lead to a slowdown in economic growth," said the AmCham president.
AmCham Romania will continue to bring to the attention of decision makers the priorities and recommendations of the business community that it represents in order to improve the investment climate and public policies with an impact on the economy.
The survey was conducted from 17 May to 17 June 2019 and covered a sample of 120 companies out of 430 AmCham Romania member companies. Of the companies surveyed, 68 percent have an annual turnover of over 5 million US dollars, and nearly one-third (32 percent) have businesses under 5 million US dollars. Also, 57 percent of companies are in the industry - IT, Health, Automotive, FMGC, Banking and Financial Services, while 34 percent represent the services sector - consultancy, professional services, lawyers.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Romania, has been for 25 years among the most representative associations of the business community in the country, being recognized as a promoter of public-private dialogue on business matters, public policies with an impact on the economy, Romania's competitiveness or the dynamics of trade relations between the USA and Romania.