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State to get hands on HFSF funds

 Accounting Office report warns revenues may miss target by 1.35 billion euros

The Finance Ministry is considering using the funds that the Hellenic Financial Stability Facility (HFSF) has at its disposal to secure some desperately needed cash for the state for as long as possible.

The HFSF possesses some 3 billion euros intended for the recapitalization of the country’s credit system, but the state has the authority to use it to cover its own obligations, especially for July when it is likely to fall into the red.

The ministry is examining various plans regarding how to increase the state’s liquidity as it is now understood that the next tranche from the bailout mechanism cannot be expected before the end of July.

This was the subject of a meeting led by Finance Minister Giorgos Zannias on Thursday at the State General Accounting Office, which heard that given the delay in the collection of tax revenues and the possible extension to the deadline for the submission of tax statements by at least 15 days, the use of the HFSF funds appears imperative from as early as late June.

A report by the State General Accounting Office in fact suggests that the budget revenues target this year will have to be revised, as there is a forecast for a lag of 1.35 billion euros. This is mainly attributed to income tax revenues (seen missing their target by 330 million euros) due to cuts in salaries and pensions, direct taxes from previous years (275 million), transaction taxes (209 million), special consumption taxes (110 million), and the postponement of the early renewal of the Athens International Airport concession contract (230 million).

May has been a particularly bad month as far as state revenues are concerned, as in the first 20 days of the month that included a general election the inflow to public coffers was 20 percent lower than in the same month last year.

The ministry is pinning its hopes on the payment of corporate tax in the last 10 days of this month and the Special Property Tax of 2009 due by June 30.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday May 24, 2012 (22:03)  
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