A new legislative initiative, the result of the open dialogue between industry representatives and politicians, proposes to standardize VAT at the reduced rate of 5% for all wood materials intended for heating – not only firewood, but also pellets, briquettes, sawdust, wood waste.

Cătălin Tobescu, the president of the Romanian Association of the Wood Industry – Prolemn, took part last week in a conference organized in Baia Mare by the S&D European Parliament group, at the initiative of MEP Carmen Avram. The conference addressed the issues raised by climate change for smart cities and the role of sustainable management of the forest fund and biomass for overcoming the energy deficit.

Ms Carmen Avram, Member of the European Parliament, presented the challenges for forest sector stemming from the new European directives: the biodiversity strategy, the European strategy on forests, especially the impact of the provision to include at least 10% of forests in strictly protected natural areas and the integral protection of primary and secular forests.

On the subject of forests, there were also presentations from COPA – COGECA (Ms. Oana Neagu) and Ms. Sub-Prefect Crina Chilat, who presented a summary of the problems regarding the supply of firewood identified at the level of Maramureș County, following a survey of town halls.

In his presentation, Cătălin Tobescu explained the causes of the shortage of wood resources in the market, impacting the supplying of population with firewood and affecting the resource of the processing industry: wood is scarce and expensive.

These causes were illustrated by the sub-prefect in Maramureș:

  • Management plans were blocked at 2 forest management units out of 14 (Somcuta and Firiza) in the environmental assessment procedure.
  • The reduced marking capacity of the forestry administration on small private properties, due to the bureaucracy induced by SUMAL.
  • An increased demand for firewood.

The solutions proposed by AIL – Prolemn are known:

  • Removing bottlenecks to put more wood resource on the market.
  • VAT reduced to 5% for all wood materials used for heating, including pellets, briquettes, sawdust, wood waste.
  • Aid to vulnerable groups through market mechanisms.

After the meeting, Mr. Gabriel Zetea, MP and the president of PSD Maramures, announced the submission of a bill to amend art. 291 para. (3) from Law no. 227/2015 on the Fiscal Code for the standardization of the reduced VAT rate of 5% for all categories of wood materials intended for heating, including pellets, briquettes, sawdust, and wood waste.

The draft act is submitted to the Senate, and the initiators requested the debate in emergency procedure.