ECONOMY

Construction firms wait in line for 2.5 bln euros

Money owed by the Greek government to construction companies for infrastructure projects completed has risen to 2.5 billion euros, nearly one percent of gross domestic product, from 1.8 billion euros previously, according to the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE).

The amount has been rising in the past few months as the government has unofficially put a block on payments for projects completed as it struggles to reduce its deficit, according to TEE.

In response to the delay, TEE has backed calls from five large contractors to stop taking part in state tenders for future projects for the next two weeks.

Construction companies had recently refused to submit offers for any projects for 48-hours as a means of protesting but failed to produce any results. The action is a first for the sector that has never adopted similar tactics in the past.

TEE president Christos Spirtzis said that the government has the funds for the unpaid bills and that construction companies could be paid from the 30 billion euro support being offered to banks to help boost liquidity in the economy.