Payment delays have cost billions

By Dimitra Manifava

The Greek economy is estimated to have lost out on some 16 billion euros, or just under 9 percent of the country’s expected gross domestic product this year, as a result of delays in state payments to enterprises as well as in transactions between companies in Greece.

Given the lack of alternative liquidity sources at a time when the banking system remains exceptionally cautious, the black hole generated from delayed payments swallows companies, which go bankrupt and jobs are lost.

According to a recent survey by Intrum Justitia, which drafts the European payment Index (EPI), more than half of Greek enterprises (54 percent) have been forced to dismiss employees in order to handle the consequences of the delay in payments, while 68 percent said they would not hire any more employees for the same reason.

Antti Peltomaki, deputy director general of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission, told a seminar in Athens on Friday that the phenomenon is not exclusively Greek, but European, with some 360 billion euros lost from the European Union economy in 2013, according to estimates.