BUSINESS

Fast-track licensing system shake-up planned

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis

TAGS: Finance

The Economy Ministry is examining a change in the quality and quantity criteria for an investment to qualify as strategic and enter the fast-track licensing system.

The reason for the shift is that it has been observed that the fast-track incentives are only being utilized by enterprises in tourism and, to a lesser extent, in energy, while the government’s objective is for the legal framework to be attractive for other economic sectors too.

The amendments to the fast-track regulations are expected to be included in the new investment incentives bill, which is ready for tabling in Parliament but is still awaiting the approval of the country’s creditors.

The government has held at least four meetings with the creditors’ technical experts on the investment incentives draft law, with a key issue being its fiscal impact. The creditors originally thought that the issue of tax exemption – the main form of subsidies included in the draft law – will have to be reviewed in the context of the bailout’s provision for a review of all tax exemptions for enterprises.

On the fast-track system, the Economy Ministry is examining a change in the investment budget limits that determine whether a project can be classified as a strategic investment. It is also considering an expansion in the benefits supplied to investments branded as strategic, so as to attract more projects than just those involving tourism and energy, as well as strengthening project monitoring, to establish the strategic investments’ progress.

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