By Dimitra Manifava
The government is planning measures that will meet Greek enterprises’ longstanding demand for a reduction in industrial energy costs, particularly natural gas rates, according to announcements made by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Thursday.
The minister made no secret of his concern about the consequences of high energy costs on competitiveness and the export-oriented character of Greek manufacturing: “I am worried about the cost of energy. I want us to be the ministry for industry, with industries,” he said.
The measures will be taken by a new ministerial committee whose function was decided just before Christmas. The committee has not yet been formed, but the plan for it is ready. Hatzidakis attributed the delay in the introduction of the measures to a number of other issues his ministry is currently dealing with, such as the privatization of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA).
Other interventions by the Development Ministry are set to be implemented sooner. The 2014 plans presented yesterday by Hatzidakis provide for the lifting of regulations in the supply of a series of commodities, set to be announced in the next few days. Hatzidakis said that the vast majority – about 80 percent – of recommendations made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will be adopted.
In the coming weeks the ministry will table a bill concerning the creation of a new state entity for the exports sector, to be named Enterprise Greece and stemming from the merger of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board with Invest in Greece. The bill is still awaiting the signature of Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Hatzidakis explained that the deputy prime minister had been unable to ink the bill yet due to his heavy travel schedule.
The new legislative framework about licensing in the manufacturing and logistics sectors will be completed in the first quarter of this year, so that it can apply from the third quarter.