Saturday May 23, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Optimistic Stournaras prepares for challenges

By Sotiris Nikas

The Finance Ministry is working apace to fulfill the country’s obligations in the coming days and months, with the first key date ahead being the Eurogroup meeting on January 21.

On Wednesday Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras singled out the vote on the tax bill, set for next week, as the immediate priority, and expressed confidence that the Greek economy will begin to rebound in the second half of the year.

“I am the first to say that 2013 will be a difficult year, but this is when we prove whether we will be able to save ourselves from falling off the cliff,” the minister told Alpha 989 radio, adding that “we have all the elements required to make that happen and I hope that the political system will indeed demonstrate the consensus required for us to reach this main target.”

Stournaras went on to say that this is the first new year in a long time when all the right conditions have been in place for it to be a better year than the previous one, as Greece stands to see a rebound in the second half of 2013. “I remain an optimist, albeit a reserved one. This year we wish to initiate growth, to show how we want Greece to be in 2020 or 2025, and through which we shall get to where we aim to be,” he said.

He also referred to the prior actions required for the disbursement of the next bailout installments: “In 2013 we have to fulfill certain obligations in order to get the next tranches. Within January the main thing is the mini tax bill,” he said in reference to the draft law on taxation reform that is expected to clear Parliament by January 11.

January’s prior actions also include the approval of the electricity rate hike. Once this and the tax bill are approved, then the country’s troika of creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – will give the green light for the disbursement of the January tranche, comprising 9.2 billion euros.

The Finance Ministry was a hive of activity on Wednesday as the aim is for Greece to do all it has to do in time for the January 21 Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers. On Monday the government will publish the bill that will validate the legislative acts it has passed over the last month and a half in order to cover the previous tranche’s prior actions.

At the same time the countdown begins for the preparation ahead of the tranches of the next couple of months: In February (19 or 26) the quarterly inspection of the troika for the updating of the midterm fiscal plan is set to begin, while in March the government will have to have prepared the plan for public sector redundancies on a quarterly basis till the end of 2014.

The next major challenge will be the drafting and voting of the so-called “maxi” tax bill in spring. Stournaras said yesterday that a working group will be formed for the maxi-bill to be tabled in April or May in Parliament and incorporate clauses for combating tax evasion and for changes to the tax collection mechanism. He stressed that with the merging of tax offices the state will save human resources that will then focus on inspections, a crucial need these days.

“When you want to combat tax evasion, you do it in two ways: The first is with checks so as to minimize the possibility of tax evaders not being caught and the second is the appropriate penalties,” said Stournaras, who knows all too well that the troika will not tolerate another delay and failure to contain tax evasion.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday Jan 2, 2013 (22:31)  
Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
Car sales drop a gear on VAT rate uncertainty
Bulk of loan requests comes from food service
New civil service assessment scheme focuses on rewards instead of punishment
Officials at the Administrative Reform Ministry are finalizing a new evaluation scheme for civil servants aimed at improving performance and offering incentives to slackers rather than punis...
Deal no closer following PM’s meetings in Riga
Athens believes that Greece could still clinch an agreement with its lenders but probably at the start of June, rather than by the end of this month as it had previously hoped, following the...
Inside News
SOCCER
Greece escapes soccer suspension, FIFA happy with changes
FIFA says it is satisfied with changes made to sporting law in Greece, and has dropped a threat to suspend the country from international competition. In a letter to the government dated May...
SOCCER
Four-goal Panathinaikos thrashes Asteras away
Panathinaikos thrashed Asteras at Tripoli to gain an early advantage in the race for a spot in next season’s Champions League qualifiers, as the Super League play-offs got under way on Wedne...
Inside Sports
ANALYSIS
Neither Grexit nor a dual currency will solve Greece’s problems
A Grexit or the introduction of a dual currency is not a solution to Greece’s problems. On the contrary, it would be a worst-case scenario for Greece in the short term. Only in the medium to...
COMMENTARY
First aid for the capital
The fact that the center of Athens exudes the stench of human waste is an undeniable truth, just like the fact that in late spring, one nostril smells blossoming bitter lemon trees while the...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. New civil service assessment scheme focuses on rewards instead of punishment
2. Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
3. Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
4. Deal no closer following PM’s meetings in Riga
5. Greece to back NATO-led campaign against ISIS, Kammenos says
6. SYRIZA, ND waver over agreement
more news
Today
This Week
1. Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
2. Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
3. First aid for the capital
4. Neither Grexit nor a dual currency will solve Greece’s problems
5. Response to May 15 comment
6. New civil service assessment scheme focuses on rewards instead of punishment
Today
This Week
1. The Greek-German breakthrough that didn’t come
2. Conspiracy madness
3. Greece came close to not paying IMF
4. National self-awareness put to the test
5. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
6. Greek endgame nears for Tsipras as bank collateral hits buffers
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.