The revenues of the new Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) look likely to crumble when the painful measures agreed by the government and the country’s creditors are passed.
The indirect increase in social security contributions for a large section of Greece’s 1.4 million freelancers, self-employed and farmers is set to further hamper any efforts hundreds of thousands of professionals make to pay their dues even if they have expired debts.
Friday is the deadline for the payment of March contributions, which will to a great extent determine the future of the newly formed fund, as up to last week the course of revenues was far from satisfactory.
According to the Group for Social and Labor Rights, the collection rate for the contributions of non-salary workers dropped by almost 10 percentage points within a month earlier this year. In January 894,298 workers (or 63.24 percent) paid out 173.1 million euros (69.3 percent of the amount due), while in February 56.05 percent of workers, or 793,018, paid 151.5 million euros (60.1 percent of the contributions due).
The change to the calculation method for contributions, which is seen clearing Parliament in the multi-bill of austerity measures and countermeasures for 2019-2020, is expected to generate more opposition from workers. This is likely to further undermine the effort to maintain the collection rate above or even around 60 percent for the rest of the year.
Experts estimate that regardless of the course of March contributions from the self-employed, freelancers and farmers, the next few months will see a declining trend, as some 250,000 self-employed workers will also receive notices for contributions toward supplementary pensions (7 percent) and the retirement lump sum (4 percent).
In a bid to prevent EFKA revenues from sinking too low, the government is now concentrating on the settlement of expired debts as provided for in the bill regarding the extrajudicial mechanism.