ECONOMY

Government presents details of further state aid to tackle runaway prices

Government presents details of further state aid to tackle runaway prices

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras specified on Thursday the four new measures aiming to strengthen households and businesses hit by runaway prices. The new aid will cost 1.1 billion euros, the minisrer said.

The government will increase the existing subsidy for electricity, while the subsidy for natural gas will be continued and companies are also included in the aid plan. The cost for April from this measure is expected to reach 640 million euros.

Secondly, the government will provide financial support to 1.4 million vulnerable households before Easter, with an additional 1.5 installment of child allowance granted in April; an allowance of 200 euros to 677,000 low-income pensioners; 200 euros to 35,000 uninsured elderly people; 200 euros to disabled citizens; a double installment to the beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum income. This will cost 324 million euros.

Thirdly, the government will provide a direct fuel subsidy for 3 months to individuals and the self-employed with a family income of up to 30,000 euros. Sixty litres of fuel per month will be subsidized, at 0.22 euros per litre, while for island areas it will be 0.27 euros per litre. The minister said that the average monthly consumption is 54 litres.
Diesel will be directly subsidized with 0.15 euros per litre. In April, a 200-euro allowance will be granted to taxis. The total cost amounts to 130 million euros.

With the fourth measure, the installments for the payment of the so-called repayable advances (repayment of government loans) are increased to 96 from 60. Reductions for the repayment remain, such as the 15 pct discount on the one-off repayment. According to Staikouras, the state has provided loans of 8.3 billion euros through repayable advances and will collect 3 billion euros.

Adding the measures that are already being discussed in parliament (reduction of ENFIA, subsidy for agricultural fuel, fertilizers, etc.), the cost of the overall aid provided to households and businesses amounts to 1.7 billion euros.

[AMNA]