ECONOMY

Arrears repayment to take time

The repayment of the state’s arrears to the private sector will only be made gradually due to the precious little funding that will be available up until the end of the year as well as state bodies’ inability to rapidly absorb the funds needed from the bailout tranche to be paid by December 13.

At a press conference on Thursday, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras appeared optimistic that the first money will enter the market before the end of the year and that all of the 9.3 billion euros in outstanding debts to the private sector will have been cleared by the end of 2013.

“With the disbursement of the tranche, the government will be able to repay a significant part of its arrears,” said Staikouras, admitting, however, that there is very little time between the disbursement and the end of the year.

He presented a chart of priorities for the repayment of debts, with older ones to be repaid first. He added that there are 40,229 outstanding applications for the payment of retirement lump sums to civil servants, which add up to some 1.3 billion euros. Urgent requirements with social and economic consequences will also take priority, as will cases that might result in fines for the state.

Staikouras stressed there is no provision for a haircut on those debts but said there is a possibility that only a part of the lump sum may be paid at first.