BUSINESS

Government has its work cut out for the fourth and final review

ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Finance, Energy, Privatizations

Athens will have to implement more than 80 milestones for the completion of the fourth and final review of the bailout program in the second quarter of next year, when Greece’s exit from the program and the lightening of the national debt will also be discussed, according to the adjusted bailout agreement that Kathimerini has seen.

The volume of prior actions and the tight timetable show that the creditors intend to leave no loose ends when the program expires in August 2018.

The Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding, as agreed on December 2, and the staff-level agreement attached to it define in detail not only what the government has to do to conclude the current third review, but also the many commitments it has to implement for the completion of the last review.

Those milestones will range from the so-called investment bank (that won’t be an actual bank as it will not issue any credit) to the tax policy; from changes in corporate legislation and business mergers to the sale of PPC lignite units; from the participation of the Single Social Security Fund (EFKA) in Attica Bank’s share capital increase to new pension cuts; from the decision of when, by whom and how the income tax-free threshold will be reduced to the future of collective contracts and arbitration by sector; from the financing of the Thessaloniki Public Transport Organization and tolls on the Egnatia Odos to the sale of state stakes in all major enterprises; and from the timetable for the Elliniko development project to the concession of the Thriasio plot in western Attica.

A common denominator in all those prior actions is the clear commitment that everything will be conducted after consultation with and approval by the creditors, particularly regarding the banking system, bad loans, main-residence protection and the sale of PPC plants.

The new MoU also states that the International Monetary Fund will decide in May if the reduction of the tax-free threshold should apply from 2019 instead of 2020.

Consequently, the latest agreement points to a very busy period from March to June 2018, if the government wishes to proclaim the end of the bailout period.

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