ECONOMY

Race on to pass draft law by Sunday

Athens intends to plug the 325-million-euro hole in its latest agreement with its official creditors by making fresh cuts to main and auxiliary pensions and to allowances for families with four or more children, according to a draft law that could be tabled in Parliament as early as on Friday.

The Finance Ministry plans to include in the bill all the commitments each ministry has made to representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund — collectively known as the troika — so it can be passed through Parliament by Sunday night in the form of an emergency draft law in order for it to be ready in time for the Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

The absolute deadline for the voting on the bills that will put the agreement with the troika on paper is February 29.

According to sources, the fiscal gap of 325 million euros — created due to political leaders? resistance to a 625-million-euro cut to auxiliary pensions — will be covered by the following measures:

– A cut of 100 million euros in the operating expenses of the National Defense Ministry.

– Salary reductions in certain civil servant categories, including teachers and military personnel, two months earlier than originally scheduled, which will save some 90 million euros.

– Main pensions in excess of 1,300 euros per month will suffer a 10-12 percent cut, saving the state about 45 million euros.

– Families with four or more children and with an annual income of more than 40,000-45,000 euros will not be paid an allowance. That would save some 40-42 million euros.

– On top of the 200-million-euro annual cut to supplementary pensions, another 20-30 million euros will be slashed, although the details of how this will be done have not yet been decided.

– Operating expenses in a number of state companies and corporations will be slashed by an extra 6 million euros. Small cuts to other state expenditure will also be included in the bill to reach the desired figure of 325 million euros.