BUSINESS

Parliament's experts criticize government's 'social dividend' plan

GIORGOS BOURDARAS

TAGS: Finance

The Parliament’s Scientific Council on Thursday raised serious objections to the distribution of the so-called “social dividend,” and even to whether the most important clause of the relevant bill adheres to the Constitution.

This appears to put the debate rescheduled for the House’s plenary session on Monday on a new footing, as it seems to support a series of objections the opposition parties have raised against the government’s plans, and could lead to modifications by the Finance Ministry.

The Scientific Council’s report focuses on the provision of the draft law that authorizes ministers to determine the criteria for the distribution of the handout. Furthermore, the report also criticizes the parameter that refers to covering the cost of providing funds to the Public Power Corporation, which it says contains unclear aspects that are not acceptable constitutionally.

Regarding the amount of money to be granted to PPC, the Parliament’s experts point out that “it goes without saying that the funding will have to comply with the regulations pertaining to state subsidies, and it should exclusively cover the cost of supplying Services of General Interest, and not any other costs of electrical energy suppliers.”

Referring to the bill’s definition of the recipients of the “social benefit” as “the financially weak persons and vulnerable households,” the report stresses its concern about “whether this regulation is according to the Constitution a specific determination of the object of authorization.” It further notes that the reference to criteria other than income, assets and residence “does not appear to be a legislative authorization permitted by the Constitution.”

“Given that the distributed amount of the social dividend ‘might be increased if the fiscal regulations permit it,’ some specific fiscal criteria will have to be laid out so that they can be taken into account for any increase of the handout during the issue of the Common Ministerial Decision,” the report of the Scientific Council argues.

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