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The first guest during the new year in Greece

31 December 2012 / 14:12:22  GRReporter
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The first guests who will visit Greece immediately after the holidays will have control functions related to the completion of the budget and the important topics such as the recapitalisation of banks, privatisation,  eduction of the number of public workers, taxation and insurance. The lenders’ teams are expected after Epiphany and they will start inspecting the progress of the measures agreed for the 2013-2014 period. The management teams of the controllers will arrive in Athens after 15 January and will give the green light for the transfer of the next instalment of 9.2 billion euro from the loan from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in compliance with the results of the inspection.
The first meetings of the inspection teams are scheduled in the Court of Greece, their main topic being the completion of the 2013 budget by the end of February. Based on recent data from November, the state will have to confirm by 31 December revenues of 6.53 billion euro, which are expected to come from the collection of expired liabilities from income tax, value added tax and transport charges. Things seem better in expenditures. Excluding the interest rate expenses, which were previously frozen, the initial costs a month before the end of the year are lower by 461 million euro. The aim of the Troika is to make sure, which of these costs have actually been cut and which of the expired obligations in the public sector will have to be paid in the coming months. Along with this, the payment schedule of the expired obligations will be checked, as it was partially broken, since of the 2 billion euro that should have been paid by the end of 2012 only 1 billion euro has been paid.

The significant delay of the government investment programme will be painful but useful. The government is expected to spend on investment approximately 1.5 billion euro less. Of these, 1.3 billion is expected to go for projects co-financed under the EMPA programme and the other 200 million euro are expected to come from the termination of the investment under the law on development because of the economic crisis. The deviations in insurance funds and the establishment of a single payroll table for the public companies will also be examined.

After the completion of the budget, the Troika will check the vote on the new tax law, which will be in force from the end of January. The aim will be for the provisions that will be voted on to determine the quarterly amounts for collection so that data collection becomes more regular and more accurate. Along with this, the Troka will be informed about the second part of the tax law, which will apply from May onwards and which will refer to the management of taxes. Based on the results of the reports of the technical teams published last week, the Troika believes that the second part of the tax law is more important than the first one.

The issue of privatisation is among those of the highest importance. The lenders stress that further steps are needed to relieve the fund from the political interference and the processes that are slowing it down. The information about the delayed competition for the Thessaloniki water company, which is due to the failure of the financial committee to set a date for discussion, will place the issue of political control in the foreground again. The dates for the privatisation of large companies in 2013 - the Greek lottery, the Greek gas company and the state oil company - will be discussed along with this as well as the schedule for the first quarter, when the procedures for the privatisation of 13 other companies will have to be launched.

Another issue of the inspection will be the recovery of the public sector. The schedule for the accreditation of public workers and the quarterly targets for the cuts in 2013 will have to be defined again. The transfer of public workers from one office to another will be examined as well. The positions that will remain in the public sector and those that will be closed will be announced after the reduction of the positions in the ministries and government institutions, and in the new payroll table. This will apply to state funded companies, especially in the field of transport, in which a reduction of staff will be necessary in addition to salary cuts. The Troika will require information about the reduction of the number of people working in the field of education as well. This concerns the merger of faculties and schools and means a reduction of the fees of those working in secondary education and increasing the workload of those on permanent contracts.

As for hospitals, the functioning of the e-prescribing system managed by the Ministry of Development has to be inspected as well as the cost control.

Tags: Troika BudgetRecapitalisationPrivatisationInspection
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