BUSINESS

State drags feet on debt repayments

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

State hospital workers march in Athens on Wednesday in protest at spending cuts.

TAGS: Economy

The repayment of state debts to suppliers and taxpayers continues to inch along at a snail’s pace, even though the Greek Finance Ministry has already received the final installment for that purpose from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

According to ministry data, the state received 922.6 million euros in August so its various agencies could pay their debts and meet outstanding pension applications, yet just 185.4 million euros of that amount has been doled out.

This leaves 737.2 million euros that still needs to go to cash-strapped businesses. When this will happen remains a mystery, as does whether there will be any interest after debts and overdue tax returns passed the 90-day limit set by the European Union.

Data show that the Greek state’s arrears climbed to 3.04 billion euros at end-August from 2.73 billion euros the month before that. The 306-million-euro spike occurred despite government pledges – and its commitment to creditors – to clear the state’s debts by end-December.

However, the draft state budget submitted to Parliament last week makes no mention of a plan to clear all of the state’s arrears by end-2018. Instead, it stipulates that state agencies need to further reduce their debts by the end of the year.

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