BUSINESS

Draft law to render revenues secretariat truly independent

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

General secretary of public revenue Giorgos Pitsilis will see the agency he heads turn into an independent authority by law from next year.

TAGS: Finance

After a long wait, the General Secretariat of Public Revenue will become fully independent as of 2017: It will be financially autonomous, it will not have to undergo any monitoring from the Finance Ministry hierarchy, and its administrative council will include an expert from the European Commission.

The draft law that Kathimerini has seen provides for the “Independent Authority for Public Revenues” to replace the general secretariat from January 2017, with its head having the title of governor.

The authority will have operational independence, administrative and economic autonomy and its own budget, and will not be monitored by any government or state entities or other administrative authorities.

Its administration will be led by its governing council, its governor and a European Commission expert. The council will also choose two Commission officials to participate in it.

The bill states clearly that the governor, the council members and the expert, “during the execution of their duties, will be bound only by the law and their conscience and will not have to submit to any control from the hierarchy or administrative monitoring by government entities. The council enjoys personal and operational independence.”

The only thing that each finance minister will be able to do is to submit proposals and supply strategic guidelines regarding the planning for the implementation of government policy. “The proposals will not be able to extend to organizing and operational matters of the authority,” the bill notes.

The only person responsible for the authority’s staff will be the governor, who will be able to promote, transfer or judge the sufficiency or insufficiency of its human resources. Article 5 states that “the minister is not able to submit to the authority any demands for the supply of information or to issue any binding directives for specific issues or cases.”

Crucially, in case of a disagreement between the governor and the finance minister regarding taxation policy, it is the governing council that will give the solution.

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