As things currently stand, the fiscal space available in 2022 has been fully exhausted, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in statements on Skai Television on Friday. He noted, however, that as the execution of the budget progresses and tourism gets under way, “the government will find fiscal space and support households and businesses at the appropriate time.”
“I have the feeling that the fiscal space will be found but there must, at the same time, be an extension of lower value-added tax on food services and transport until the end of the year and the abolition of the solidarity levy in 2023 for all workers and pensioners,” he said.
Staikouras commented that a discussion on possible fuel subsidies in July would be “too premature,” while outlining the support measures for electricity consumers that will run up until June: He added that as of July, and for a one-year period, up to 70-80% of the extra cost will be covered and subsidies will continue so that electricity bills remain lower.
Staikouras said this program will cost 2.2 billion euros in total, of which €900 million euros will come from the state budget, adding that Greece has spent double the EU average onsupporting households and businesses based on May 6 figures.
The minister noted that the current forecast, as things stand at present, is for a primary deficit of 2% of gross domestic product, while the ministry expects a 3% of GDP increase in growth. This estimate was more conservative than those of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Greece, which have forecast growth rates ranging from 2.8 to 3.5% of GDP, he added.
The minister argued that Greece was moving closer to the goal of attaining investment grade in 2023, adding that the last step in this process will be the end of enhanced surveillance in August.
Investment is key for Greece’s recovery, and government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou pointed to a series of significant meetings that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had in Davos with senior figures at major global companies, such as Google, Meta and others.