BUSINESS

EFKA 'unable' to make pension target

ROULA SALOUROU

TAGS: Finance

An internal document by the director of the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA), Thanasis Bakalexis, which was leaked to the Greek press opn Thursday, revealed that the new fund is unable to issue all 150,000 pending pensions by October, which it must do in order for the entity to receive the 869 million euros from the program for the payment of the state’s expired debts, as agreed with the country’s creditors.

In his letter to the fund’s department heads, dated March 24, Bakalexis admits there is no plan for the processing of all those pensions and the target cannot be met. He goes on to ask the seven heads of the departments to inform him whether they themselves have a plan for the timely calculation of the 150,000 pensions and, if so, to inform the administration of EFKA in order to secure the necessary administrative support.

The first official response to the revelation came from the Labor and Social Security Ministry, which rushed to announce that in the year to date more than 40,000 new pensions have been issued and paid out. It added that by mid-April some 3,500 retirement lump sums will have been processed and paid. According to the ministry, “the clearing of all pending pension applications by October 2017 constitutes a fully attainable target.”

EFKA then stated that the leaked document constitutes proof of good administration, and assured that the target for the processing of all outstanding pensions by October will be achieved.

The news elicited a strong response from New Democracy’s shadow labor minister Yiannis Vroutsis, who told Skai TV it is a shame for the government and warned in a statement that there is no way so many pensions can be processed by October. He added that the problem is due to the government’s inability to manage the issue and underscored that the opposition had warned the government about this possibility.

Out of those 150,000 pensions, 50,000-55,000 should be calculated according to the new law brought in by former minister Giorgos Katrougalos, while the applications for the other 95,000 were submitted before May 2016 – some have been pending for up to three years.

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