FINANCE

Staikouras adjusted growth forecast to 4.2%

staikouras-adjusted-growth-forecast-to-4-2

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Tuesday matched the Bank of Greece’s estimate for a 4.2% economic rebound this year, noting that this year’s gross domestic product will cover half of last year’s losses, which amounted to 8.2% according to provisional Hellenic Statistical Authority data.

Speaking on Parapolitika radio, he stressed that the government estimates regarding the growth of the economy have also incorporated the impact of the Next Generation EU resources. Nevertheless, the lockdown of the economy in the year’s first quarter has forced the government to adjust its growth estimate from the 4.8% rate included in the budget.

At the same time the ministry tabled a supplementary budget in Parliament that provides for the expansion of support measures by 3 billion euros. This was deemed necessary as the original budget had provided for €7.5 billion of support measures to households and corporations for the whole of 2021. That sum has already been exceeded, with Staikouras having announced measures that will top €14 billion in total.

The minister also referred to the Next Generation EU resources and the delays recorded, noting that efforts are being made by Greece and other governments, including the French finance minister, to speed up procedures; the universal estimate now is that disbursements will being in late June.

Asked about the relatively low interest recorded in the seventh phase of the cheap state loans program, Staikouras attributed it to the workload of accountants, while noting that 40,000 applications were submitted yesterday alone. At this rate more than 300,000 applications will have been submitted by the April 19 deadline, exceeding the ministry’s target, he said, noting that in the previous phases of the so-called “Deposit To Be Returned” program there were many applicants who knew they did not qualify.

He did not rule out a new reduction in the corporate income tax deposit, after that introduced last year. “We will examine this matter at the start of the summer, depending on the fiscal conditions at the time,” he said, adding that it now is too early for that.