BUSINESS

BoG chief warns of uncertainty risks

Greek people’s sacrifices in previous years are now in danger of going to waste, says Yannis Stournaras By Yiannis Papadoyiannis

In a speech on Friday during an event organized by the Bank of Greece, Governor Yannis Stournaras issued a fresh, stark warning about the effects of the prolonged uncertainty on the economy and the danger that the gains from the Greek people’s sacrifices may be lost.

“Today uncertainty constitutes the biggest derailment risk for the Greek economy and the greatest threat for the waste of the Greek people’s sacrifices made in previous years in order to restore fiscal balance and competitiveness,” said the former finance minister.

He added that the economy had returned to a positive course, saying, “We must not forget that in the last two quarters of 2014 Greece’s was the fastest-growing economy on an annual basis in the eurozone, while both in 2013 and in 2014 the big twin deficits of the past that had been the main causes of the crisis, namely the state’s primary budget deficit and the current account deficit, had already turned into surpluses.”

“Just like in the other economic sectors, Greece must head toward the strengthening of its competitiveness and reliability, and finally turn into a country that is friendly toward investments,” said Stournaras, referring to investing in commercial properties, hotel units, logistics spaces, high-standard offices and others. “Such investments, along with the safeguarding of the environmental protection framework, can strengthen growth, create new jobs and attract new supplementary investments, too,” he explained.

The BoG governor also called for the swift completion of the state property utilization process, referring specifically to the Elliniko development, regional airports and ports.

Stournaras concluded by stressing the need to tackle the major issue of nonperforming loans, but without the creation of a separate entity for that purpose burdening the state budget or the budgets of the banks as it is vital to avoid creating new capital requirements for the country’s main lenders, he argued.

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