Theodoros Fessas, the head of the Hellenic Federation of Enteprises.
The Greek business world is particularly concerned at reports that the government is planning to impose new taxes on a series of products and services. The domains of industry, tourism and exporting companies on Wednesday expressed opposition to the government’s tax policy, highlighting the disastrous consequences that raising taxes even further would have on enterprises, employment and the economy in general.
The issues of overtaxation as a major problem for producers and getting the Greek economy back on a path toward growth were discussed yesterday in the context of a press conference with Deputy Minister for Industry Theodora Tzakri and representatives from various production sectors.
Tzakri herself acknowledged the problem, but stressed that the government “is under monitoring, so there are not many options.” She went on to estimate that the obstacles will be lifted after the completion of the bailout review by the country’s creditors, allowing for conditions of stability and growth to prevail.
Theodoros Fessas, head of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), intervened to reiterate the industrialists’ opposition to overtaxation, underscoring that the increase in social security contributions is also a form of taxation. He said that for the phenomenon of divestment to stop, it will take investments totaling some 100 billion euros in the coming years, with an emphasis on sectors with a multiplier effect, such as industry.
The Greek International Business Association (SEVE) expressed serious concern about the government’s policy mix in a letter to the prime minister and the party leaders, noting that “a front-heavy program based on the wrong mix with overtaxation as its main component cannot lead to a primary surplus of 3.5 percent [of GDP] by 2018 that the package of measures of 5.4 billion euros is aiming at.” That will mean two more wasted years, it added.
The tourism sector is also upset at the new taxation plans for hotels, with luxury units expected to be hit hardest. The head of the Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, said, “The country cannot give its competitors such a gift at the start of the tourism season, destroying its own tourism.”