Govt. hands out electronic meal vouchers to 2.5 million Romanians at risk of poverty
Romania’s Government has started handing out electronic vouchers to people in need as part of its “Support for Romania” program. The vouchers, worth RON 250 (EUR 50), will be distributed bi-monthly until January 2023 and are destined for those who are at risk of poverty.
Labour minister Marius Budăi announced on Thursday that the electronic meal vouchers are on their way to 2.5 million Romanians who are experiencing material deprivation, mostly retirees or disabled people with income below RON 1,500 (EUR 303), low-income single-parent families or low-income families with at least two children, and homeless persons.
The vouchers are part of the Government’s plan to counteract inflation and price hikes resulting from the war in Ukraine. Funding for the program comes from Romania’s state budget but also from EU funds.
The vouchers will be accepted in over 24,000 shops equipped with cash registers, and cannot be used to buy alcohol or cigarettes. “We’re only talking about foodstuffs, from bread, sugar, oil, rice, and whatever a person needs for consumption,” said the minister for European funds Marcel Boloș, quoted by ProTV.
The vouchers, essentially electronic cards, will be delivered by Posta Romana, the national postal service. Valentin Ștefan, the director of Posta Romana, promised that the recipients will get them in 5 days’ time.
Under the same program, the Government decided on Thursday, June 2, to grant RON 700 (EUR 142) financial support, in cash, to some 3.3 million retirees who earn less than RON 2,000 (EUR 404) per month. The financial support will be paid just once, in July. A similar support measure was implemented in January this year.
Food prices in Romania rose 13,5% in April 2022 compared to last year, contributing to an overall annual inflation rate of 13.8%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The central bank also projected inflation to reach 14,2% this year.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)