Romania: tax chief fired amid concerns about budget deficit

Romania's prime minister has fired the head of the country's tax agency amid concerns about the European country's spiraling budget deficit.

Premier Viorica Dancila dismissed Ionut Misa on Thursday. The finance minister in Dancila's government repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with tax collections under Misa.

But critics of the government say Misa, who once served as finance minister himself, is being made a scapegoat for economic policies that resulted in a 26 billion lei deficit ($6.34 billion) during the first 11 months of 2018. The amount represents 2.7 percent of Romania's GDP and is more than double the figure for the same period in 2017.

The deficit was even lower in 2016, before the Social Democratic Party came to power.

Gelu Diaconu, a former tax chief, recently accused the government of manipulating figures to stay within the European Union's budget deficit limit of 3 percent of GDP.